Home Opinion Open Letter to School Board President Gloria Reyes

Open Letter to School Board President Gloria Reyes

Freedom, Inc. Photo supplied.

The following opinion piece reflects the views of its authors, and not necessarily those of Madison365 or its staff, board of directors or funders.

Dear MMSD School Board President Gloria Reyes, 

We the people have the right to hold our elected officials accountable for harming Black children. The Freedom Youth Squad along with hundreds of community members have consistently testified at school board meetings about the negative impacts of school resource officers on Black youth and other youth of color, LGBTQ+ youth, and disabled youth. You have ignored our cries for justice and demands for police free schools. You have ignored our research along with other national data and reports and simply leaned into your own miseducated beliefs about justice and equity. 

Freedom, Inc. has been more than patient. We attempted to approach this critical issue in a democratic way. We invited you to a public debate and a private conversation with our young people to which you did not respond. You refused to be responsible or accountable for your lack of action. This is irresponsible and undemocratic leadership.

It is clear that as a former Madison police officer, you have a conflict of interest in favor of the contract between Madison Metropolitan School District and Madison Police Department. As a person of color, you have chosen to uphold the status quo and embody white supremacy. You have shown us that you care more about your own individual power and electability than you do about defending Black lives. You have joined community efforts to end I.C.E. and demanded that our government stop putting Latinx people into detention facilities, but you refuse to do the same for the Black community. You refuse our demands to end police violence against our children in schools and continue to perpetuate the school-to-prison pipeline which ushers hundreds of our children into the criminal justice system.

This is serious, Gloria. We do not need another politician whose primary concern is power over people. We need someone who believes in people-power and will stand with us in our fight for liberation. We are mad, we are angry, and we are hurt because our children are dying mentally and physically. Antiblack school policies and practices which you endorse is undoubtedly contributing to their deaths. We have heard you say that you have care and concern for Black students in our schools, but we need to see this in your actions and not just your words. We demand that you put an amendment to end the contract with MPD on the agenda for the upcoming school board meeting. You have read our demands numerous times, but please read them again. 

  1. We demand that MMSD completely remove police from schools. This means ending the contract with the city of Madison and creating an accountability process for school officials who use the police to punish students. 
  2. We demand that MMSD fully invest in the leadership, wellness, and creativity of Black youth and other youth of color. 
  3. We demand that MMSD give most impacted youth, parents, and trusted adults real decision making power over schools. 
  4. We demand that MMSD use transformative justice instead of punishing youth. 

You have an opportunity to be on the right side of history. You have an opportunity to make history by following the lead of the Minneapolis School Board who has recently ended their contract. You have an opportunity as a Latina leader in this community to be in true solidarity with Black folx. Prove us wrong about your standing and beliefs. Our children deserve dignity and decision-making power.  Please meet these demands immediately or resign as School Board President. 

Freedom, Inc.
Urban Triage Inc.
Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL)