Madison Teachers Inc. issued this statement this afternoon (06-07-2020):
We call for the removal of all school resource officers from the four comprehensive high schools with the caveat that this only occurs when all four high schools are properly staffed with counselors, psychologists, social workers, nurses, and mental health specialists according to the national American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) recommended levels.
This is, essentially, the Freedom Inc. position. What would that “appropriate level of staffing” be? The teachers union says:
- East high: 1 more counselor, 1 more nurse, 1 more psychologist, 4 more social workers.
- LaFollette high: 1 more counselor, 1 more nurse, 1 more psychologist, 5 more social workers.
- Memorial high: 2 more counselors, 1 more nurse, 1 more psychologist, 5 more social workers.
- West high: 1 more counselor, 1 more nurse, 7 more social workers
That’s 33 new positions in a budget that anticipated reductions due to declining enrollment in exchange for lopping off the four SRO police. In the midst of an economic recession caused by the coronavirus lockdown. And almost certain reduced state aid. Figure the upside cost at something like $2.5 million/year.
Gov. Tony Evers says the state budget is looking at a $2 billion hit. Public schools make up about a third of the state’s budget, making it a likely target for at least some cuts if that budget shrinks. (More here.) MTI’s statement continues:
Restorative, restorative, restorative
In conjunction with the previous priority, MTI calls for more full-time social workers, nurses, psychologists, counselors, as well as a genuine and comprehensive implementation of restorative justice including staffing, training, and systems at all elementary, middle, and high schools.
In order to create restorative classrooms, we need to have restorative schools, supported by restorative relationships and restorative systems for decision making. And we must have people solely dedicated to this work within every building.
Even black teachers supported SROs
Historically, MTI has supported school resource officers in our four comprehensive high schools in order to create safe places for our students and staff. We have heard from our union members, including our Black members at the high school level, that school resource officers build strong relationships with students, provide a sense of safety and security for all people, and often take on more of the role of a social worker or counselor than that of a law enforcement officer.
We acknowledge and appreciate their partnership and commitment to our schools. However, it has become apparent from conversations with our children and community that the benefits of having police officers stationed inside our schools is outweighed by the racialized trauma experienced by some of our community members of color.
Blaska’s Bottom Line: [UPDATED 06-08-2020) Now thinking this announcement is more disingenuous virtue-signaling from MTI. They know cops protect student and teacher but they want to get in good with the bomb throwers. So they support banning cops only IF the school district meets unrealistic demands like hiring 33 expensive staffers in the midst of a recession.