Madison School Board president announces committee to examine role of police in schools, suggest alternative safety measures

A Madison Metropolitan School District sign
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MADISON, Wis. — Gloria Reyes, president of the Madison School Board, announced Tuesday that the school board will create a sub-committee to search for alternatives to having police officers in schools as groups across the country continue to call for removing officers from schools as part of a push to defund police departments.

The committee, which will be made up of teachers, parents and students, will review what the school district’s safety strategy could look like without school resource officers in schools.

More specifically, the committee will be tasked with creating prevention and mitigation strategies in addition to reimaginging what the school district’s relationship with the Madison Police Department looks like in the future. One of the committee’s first tasks will be to review the school board’s contract with the MPD.

“The complexities of these times have lasting and painful memories for our students and staff, and we must press harder to dismantle systems that perpetuate racism and create new structures, void of harmful inequities, and with the wellbeing of every student at the center,” Reyes said in a statement.

Reyes’ statement comes just days after protesters filled her lawn with Black Lives Matter signs and demanded SROs be removed from public schools. Reyes argued that removing police from schools was not the answer.

On Sunday, Madison Teacher’s Inc., the union that represents Madison teachers, called for SROs to be removed from local schools.

The statement said the district’s contract with the MPD is currently paused due to COVID-19-related closures.