Madison Metropolitan School District Board of Education President Gloria Reyes has recommended a “strategy of options to remove School Resource Officers (SROs) from our school buildings.”
“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 wrote in a statement.
It’s a reversal of position for Reyes, a former Madison Police Department officer and detective. She has been an advocate for keeping police officers in Madison’s four traditional high schools, and voted with the majority in favor of extending the district’s contract with the Madison Police Department, worth over $350,000, last year.
Madison Teachers Inc, the union representing MMSD teachers, yesterday issued a statement reversing its own position, calling for police to be removed from schools in favor or more school counselors, social workers and other support staff.
“Additionally, the voice of our teachers and staff is very important to me. It is with faith that I rely on MTI to represent that voice effectively,” Reyes wrote. “Therefore I support their recent call for the removal of SROs and evaluating resources needed to best support our students and staff.”
Reyes called for the creation of a sub-committee of the school board, including parents, teachers, students and other stakeholders, to “begin work on a comprehensive review of what MMSD’s safety and security strategy could look like without SROs in schools.” She said the board will evaluate the district’s current contact with MPD and its relationship with the police department moving forward.
The Minneapolis school board severed its relationship with the police department there days after a police officer killed George Floyd by kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes.