On Monday, December 17, 2018, the Madison Metropolitan School Board failed Black and Brown children. Over 50 concerned students, parents, teachers, and community members testified about the need to remove police from our schools. Still, four School Board members – Mary Burke, Dean Loumos, TJ Mertz and James Howard – passed a three year contract with the City of Madison to keep School Resource Officers (SROs) in the four Madison high schools. They voted in favor of white supremacy and police violence against youth of color.
Instead of voting based on the lived-experiences and expertise of students, scholars, community members, and their constituents, board members decided to vote based on what they think and feel. The school district has no actual data or research to support the notion that students or teachers are safer with an MMSD-paid MPD cop in the building. Again, research tells us that School Resource Officers have never stopped an active school shooting, but have funneled millions of Black and Brown students, LGBTQ students, and students with disabilities into the school-to-prison pipeline. On the other hand, research tells us that replacing SROs with culturally specific counselors, social workers, and teachers does in fact ensure safety and prevent harm. The School Board chose a false sense of safety and security over the actual safety and wellness of our children.
MMSD’s new strategic framework and supposed commitment to “Black Excellence” is incomplete and inadequate. True Black excellence means eliminating all forms of white supremacy and anti-blackness from our schools. This includes replacing punitive disciplinary policies and practices, and includes removing the police from spaces where students should be learning and thriving.
Freedom Inc, along with your support, will continue to hold the School Board, MMSD, and the City of Madison accountable for any interactions between police and students in schools, any incidents that push children into the school to prison pipeline, and any collaboration between the district and the police department. We will fight to end any and all forms of violence against Black and Brown students, LGBTQ students, and students with disabilities.
We believe that we will win. The fight is not over and our demands remain the same. Our children deserve better and MMSD and the City of Madison have a responsibility to reach beyond the status-quo and business as usual. They have a responsibility to fund healthy and transformative solutions and alternatives to criminalizing youth.
We demand that MMSD completely remove police from schools and create accountability measures for school personnel who use police to harm children. We demand that MMSD invest in education that promotes leadership, wellness, learning, and creativity for youth of color. We demand that MMSD implement conflict resolutions that lead to transformation for young people. We demand that MMSD give students, families, and communities power to make and implement real decisions about schools.
Please contact your local School Board members and tell them to listen to the voices of youth, parents, and community members that are most impacted! Demand that they end the contract between MMSD and the City of Madison.
Peace, Love & Power!
Youth Justice Team
Freedom Inc. Freedom Inc