Why is ad hoc committee loathe to say so in so many words?
Social justice warriors will go ballistic
UPDATE TODAY 08-7-18 from Police Chief Mike Koval:
At first blush, this document does appear to have abandoned the notion of abolishing ERO’s from the high school campuses—and that’s a very positive step forward. Again, understanding that I have yet to receive a final report, my cautionary note is that MPD officers assigned to schools will certainly work to complement the efforts of MMSD in promoting school safety and championing efforts to have every student succeed.
However, ERO’s are not going to have their discretionary powers limited; meaning the District cannot dictate “always” or “never” when it comes to behavior(s) that should properly be addressed. For example, there was use of the word “shall” refer to restorative justice . . .”Shall” in my world is a mandate, eliminating an officer’s discretion. At the end of the day, ERO’s should properly be a part of a team effort to avoid citations/arrest but some situations are so compelling that the officer should make a physical arrest.
In other words, using the metaphor of Budweiser and Bud Lite, ERO’s are not going to have diminished authority or ultimate discretion in matters of school and public safety. There will be no Officer “Lites.”
The ad hoc committee on Educational Resource Officers meets one more time — 4 p.m. this Wednesday, August 8, in the auditorium of the Madison Schools administration building, 545 W. Dayton St. Then the issue goes to the full school board, probably on Monday, August 27.
Best guess is that no public comment will be allowed at the committee meeting this Wednesday, not that it will stop the disrupters from disrupting. The Board of Education meeting August 27 is the one we should circle on our calendars. You know the bad guys will be there!
As to what the 12-member committee will recommend after 18 months of dithering, best the Policy Werkes can determine from the hodge podge of its report is that COPS STAY IN THE SCHOOLS.
What we don’t know is whether the committee will recommend handcuffing the police.
The committee presents its draft proposal in Track Changes mode, with multiple
cross-outs for deleted language and underlines for inserted verbiage. Nor does the draft definitively declare Yes or No on Cops in Schools (aka: educational resource officers, or EROs).
This is as close as we could come:
We believe that there is room for re-examination of the relationship between MPD and MMSD, and that, with or without an ERO contract, MPD [will] continue to play
will no longer playa critical role in the work of MMSD, especially in an environment where there is a proliferation of firearms,and due to the current reporting mandates (WI Assembly Bill 843, WI Statutes 175.32).
What a weasel out!
Wisconsin Act 143, enacted March 26, mandates that school personnel “immediately report a serious and imminent threat to the health or safety of a student, school employee, or the public.”
The statute prohibits the school district from interfering by imposing its own policy over this mandate. The school district cannot require the teacher or staff to first touch base with an administrator “or any other person before calling … 911.”
In an environment where there is a proliferation of firearms, it might be wise to have a police officer IN the school where they can disarm potential shooters, as the ERO did at La Follette H.S. this past February. N’est-ce pas?
The committee appears poised to recommend that the mandate for EROs to be replaced every three to five years be eliminated. Not certain whether that is the school district’s mandate or the police departments. But police officers are known to like a change of pace every so often, just like other workers, so the practice will likely continue.
As for the other recommendations, your bloggeur is not equipped to determine if any of these are a deal breaker or, indeed, whether they differ substantially from current practice but here they are:
• Work with school administration to identify conditions which could be harmful to the welfare of students and the safety of the school environment and address those conditions in accordance with an agreement made between the school administration, social workers, and within the regulations and requirements set forth by the student bill of rights.
• Conduct initial investigations into potential criminal violations occurring off campus only if they have significant potential to impact student and/or school safety, and consult with school officials on the best course of action.
• EROs actions should be limited to criminal acts and EROs should not be enforcing school policies or be primarily directed to school sites to address ordinance violations.
• In the event that an ERO come into contact with a student or a student’s family on MMSD property, EROs shall utilize Restorative Practices and/or Youth and Community Courts in lieu of issuing citations or arrest warrants.
• If EROs are involved with any student or student’s family in the conduct of their official duties (limited to addressing criminal activities), any such involvement should be reported to MMSD officials. This should include but not be limited to incidents where EROs used force, or to incidents that are deemed critical.
• EROs should not be the primary counsel for students on understanding laws, ordinances and the juvenile code. These trainings and educational modules should be conducted by legal professionals (lawyers) and not EROs.
The mythical Pipeline
The committee calls for “a much deeper analysis as to the root causes as to why our students and staff are not feeling safe … and that school leadership and climate … have a larger impact on school safety than does the presence of an ERO or police officers in MMSD school sites.
The committee, nonetheless, believes the Freedom Inc. cant of the “school-to-prison pipeline.”
There are very real consequences in terms of youth entering the criminal justice system resulting from youth coming into contact with police, even when the impetus behind the interaction was non-criminal in nature.
Blaska’s Bottom Line: That’s right, school people. Just waving hello to Officer Friendly in the hallway can land you in Sing Sing.