“for those who continue to chant, click, and complain about our four School Resource Officers (SRO’s) as a ‘problem’ ”
Notice something? The other candidates for Madison school board are beginning to pretend that they always supported keeping police in our four Madison public high schools. But not one of the other candidates used their personal prestige, put their name to a letter, or braved the social justice bullies at a school board meeting to testify in favor of keeping our school resource officers. Not one!
For that matter, not one mayoral candidate and not one current alder (with the notable exception of Paul Skidmore), not one county supervisor from Madison, not one member of Madison’s state legislative delegation —not one of them defended keeping cops in schools.
But now, with an election approaching, watch them squirm.
UPDATE: Candidate for re-election T.J. Mertz pronounces the prevailing Madison school board dogma:
Blame ‘systemic racism’ first — not individual conduct
“There is no question that the combination of school disciplinary practices and juvenile justice practices, working in interaction, have unnecessarily, disproportionately placed young people in the juvenile justice system.” — T.J. Mertz in the WI State Journal 02-15-19.
Koval: Most police citations initiated by school staff
Today, we step aside to hear from Madison Police Chief Mike Koval:
Recently, I tasked MPD personnel to track the past three years of enforcement activity at our four area high schools. As a Department committed to continuous improvement, we are constantly striving to do better. But to suggest that there is a MPD “pipeline to prison” mantra is simply not supported by the facts. Four prominent points should be noted:
• Over 40% of the citations issued were for truancy; a school official directs an officer to issue a citation to a student under statutory parameters for non-attendance. When you factor in tickets for trespass, which also involve the collaboration of school officials, the number of citations issued at the request of school officials goes to over 60%. Stated most candidly, the majority of citations issued to students are not self-initiated by an officer working in isolation, they are from the direction and collaboration of a school official.
• During the 2017-18 school year, assuming that all arrests (33) of school-aged youth were in fact students, this would mean that approximately 0.4% of all MMSD high school students experienced a physical arrest on campus.
• When reviewing MPD juvenile municipal citation data (ages 12-16 years old), it must be emphasized that EVERY juvenile issued a ticket in this age bracket, regardless of offense, was offered a restorative justice diversion away from Madison’s Municipal Court.
• Clearly, there is still much to be done with respect to exploring additional options and creative problem solving in addressing the disparities that we see in our schools. MPD is a willing partner in the examination of where these numbers can be mitigated.
For those who continue to chant, click, and complain about our four School Resource Officers (SRO’s) as a “problem,” perhaps using focused data as opposed to rhetorical slogans will provide a better starting point for substantive conversations on the role of SRO’s in our schools. (link to report).
Some points from that report; over the three school years:
- 90 citations were issued to 335 individuals.
- Citations in the 2017-18 school year increased 24% from 2016-17.
- Truancy accounted for 43% of the citations.
- Physical arrests (taken into custody) declined from 65 in 2015-16 to 36 last school year.
- The total 155 arrests over the three years accounted for 257 distinct criminal charges.
- In total, 66 juveniles were cited or arrested (or a combination) on more than one distinct occasion during the three school years.
- Disorderly conduct was the most common criminal charge; battery and resisting arrest were the next most common.
- 10 incidents of possessing a firearm
- Half the physical arrests and 62% of the citations were of 15 and 16 year olds
Finally, Chief Koval observes:
There are countless other activities and efforts that consume the majority of a typical work day for each SRO – serving as a reliable resource to the entire school community; building new relationships and deepening existing ones with students, families and MMSD employees; reinforcing and expanding diversion and deflection efforts to keep kids away from the criminal justice system; and helping to ensure the overall safety of each MMSD High School campus.
A new visitor to the Policy Werkes calls herself W.L.L. She posts her experience with the kids who steal cars and hurt people at “Kids keep stealing cars and injuring citizens:”