Madison schools playing dangerous game of chicken

Will parents risk showing up at the June 24
Madison school board meeting
to fight for their kids’ safety?

Who will be the guinea pig? School parent-teacher organizations, print your agendas, call your meetings.

You have until September 15 to protect your children if they attend any of Madison’s four main high schools. Because the Madison school board is throwing a sop to the social justice disrupters — promising (threatening) to force one high school to walk the high wire without a net.

School rouletteThe school board is proposing a contract with city police that would give the school district until September 15 in each of the proposed contract’s three years to determine if it will yank a school resource officer (SRO) out of the school for the following school year.

The school board is scheduled to discuss and take action on the proposed contract this coming Monday (06-10-19). [Corrected from original blog.]

Freedom Inc. has vowed to be there. Will the citizenry dare brave their gauntlet?

Something dire

We turn to Madison Police Chief Mike Koval:

MPD and the Madison Metropolitan School Board (MMSD) have reached a tentative agreement for a contract which would continue the practice of placing MPD School Resource Officers (SRO’s) in each of the four public high schools.  The contract, if passed, would run from the fall of 2019 and extend through June of 2022 (with various opt-out options along the way).

I am relieved and grateful that the pleas of parents, students, teachers and staff have been acknowledged and we can continue to demonstrate that the SRO’s are a valuable, complementary piece in making our schools safer while fostering positive engagements which place a particular emphasis on being relational in helping all of our students achieve their goals. …

‘Not good public safety’ — a moral & ethical issue

There is a new clause that would give the District the option to reduce the number of SRO’s from “4” to “3,” thereby functionally creating a “pilot” high school going without an SRO under the proposed contractual language.  This is not good for public safety and it creates the same sort of moral and ethical issues similar to my hypothetical story where one of my kids is going to be statistically less “safe” and more at risk during the course of the “journey.”

If this “pilot” were to occur, I am concerned for a host of reasons, including:

1.  The school designated to go without an SRO may experience unintended consequences.  A “patrol” response to calls is manifestly different than an embedded SRO.  The patrol officer’s response time is predicated on where they are when the call for assistance goes out.  The patrol officer generally has several calls in the queue which have to be serviced; thus, the mindset–regrettably–becomes “get in/get out/get on to the next call.”

Owing to circumstances beyond the control of the patrol cop, the officer will not be afforded the luxury of time that an SRO has to explore a range of possibilities.  Chances are the patrol cop will not know or have any specific insights on the unique needs of the student or have any underlying relationship.  Bottom line?  It would come as no surprise to me if we saw an increase in citations.  Not by design, but due to the limitations of a patrol response vs. an SRO response.  Right now the preliminary numbers suggest that citations are down almost 70% from last year, reflective of the current SRO model that is working.

2.  Each high school has been described as a unique community, which include each of our SROs.  How will each “community” be evaluated for this experiment?  Deciding which high school will or will not get services seems problematic.  Does this school deserve any less protection from various threats to safety (i.e., an active shooter) than the other three?

3.  Based upon what I know of the principals at the four high schools, inquiring minds want to know:  How will the “pilot” high school be picked?  Has a principal been asked or told to “volunteer” to take on the pilot of having no SRO for a full school year?

4.  If the District is determined to prove that a world without SRO’s is infinitely better and they are desperate to demonstrate that the “pilot” works, will this force pressure on that school’s administration to not call the MPD unless there is something dire taking place?  I would much prefer to be pro-active and pre-emptive in curtailing problems than be called in after a serious incident.

At the end of the day, I am merely the contractual “signature” on a contract—whether this contract is affirmed is way above my head as the mayor and the council have to approve the City’s part of any contract with fiscal implications.

But I have never been silent when I object to things that could impact public safety and I am against the clause that would provide the District the option of reducing our presence in ALL of the four high schools.

No Cops June 24

Freedom Inc.’s statment:

Last night the County Board voted yes to the jail construction and a youth prison while claiming to care about Juneteenth and Pride month. Shame!

The fight is not over. We must continue to gather our people and show up. We understand that the jail and youth prison are all connected to cops in schools. This couldn’t have painted a clearer picture of the school to prison pipeline.

Show up to the MMSD School Board meeting on Monday, June 24 at 6 pm at Wright Middle School. Push for the demands that Black & Southeast Asian youth are organizing for- divest from the police and invest in the wellness, creativity and learning of youth of color!

Blaska’s Bottom LineIf the mayor or Common Council were concerned about public safety, they would turn down this contract. But the school board has sprouted the seeds of its own destruction. The social justice warriors will still clamor for no cops in any school. Period. 

Parents and anyone concerned with community safety will (one hopes!) fight back to prevent any school from being singled out for the progressive elite’s latest social experiment.

The Madison Board of Education has managed to dig itself deeper into a hole; they will experience the worse of both worlds.

About David Blaska

Madison WI
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