Did we win?
The school board committee on Cops in Schools is punting. After meeting for 18 months, the ad hoc committee on Educational Resource Officers (EROs) “does not recommend the immediate termination of the ERO program.”
Given the shooting on a city bus taking kids home from the La Follette H.S. / Sennett middle school complex Wednesday (09-19-18), wounding two other teenagers, how could it do otherwise?
Even so, how this 12-member group almost gags on the words. They can’t straight-out say, “Keep the EROs.”
The committee is scheduled to finalize its recommendation at a meeting beginning 5 p.m. Wednesday, September 26 at MMSD headquarters 545 W. Dayton St.
Freedom Inc. and the Socialists will be on DefCon 1 Alert!
The ad hoc committee “believes that the immediate termination of the ERO contract will not achieve [the goals of keeping everyone safe without feeling]“unreasonably criminalized or disproportionately targeted.” The committee recognized that ending the contract with Madison Police “will erode MMSD’s oversight over the role MPD plays in our school sites.”
And boy, does the committee load on the oversight! It recommends to the full Board of Education:
• that the mandate for EROs to be replaced every 3 to 5 years be eliminated.
• Each school have designated contacts at the administrator level to hold down police officers who respond from “escalat[ing] a potentially volatile situation.”
• Create a school-specific complaint procedure independent from the official MPD grievance procedure.
• Give the school district powert to veto police assigned as EROs and to remove an ERO for cause.
• EROs be required to train in de-escalation; trauma-informed interventions, adolescent brain development; trauma response, discipline, security measures, the school district’s lengthy Behavior Education Plan and its classroom Code of Conduct.
• Make Restorative Justice the first option “for all students.”
• In instances other than emergencies, every level of behavioral response be exhausted prior to calling an ERO into a classroom, and that in instances where ERO intervention is necessary, those instances be documented and made available to the MMSD Board of Education. That protocol should prohibit staff from threatening students with the use of an ERO.
• Students be trained in their criminal rights when interacting with law enforcement.
Here is the full recommendation package.
The committee says:
We learned that there are many students in our schools whose needs are not being met by the current educational environment. We learned of the myriad ways in which school staff and leadership recognize EROs as an essential support for students and school safety. We also learned that the presence of EROs can needlessly contribute to the criminalization of student behavior and negatively affect students’ sense of safety and belonging.
We recognize the impacts of police officers in our school sites as part of larger system and society-wide disparities, moderated largely by race, economic and ability statuses. In making these recommendations we are attempting to balance the needs and safety of all students and staff without prioritizing one groups’ safety and well being over another.
Blaska’s Bottom Line: This being Madison, the issue is far from over. The conditions seem awfully high-handed, even deal-breaking. Stay tuned.