Dear Editor: In evaluating Madison School Board President Gloria Reyes’ decision to support the removal of School Resource Officers, it’s important to read more than the headlines.
Gloria’s statement about the issue and her creation of a subcommittee to, in her words, “begin work on a comprehensive review of what MMSD’s safety and security strategy could look like without SROs in schools” is an act of leadership. She has created the necessary time and space for everyone concerned — students, parents, staff, teachers, the board, the larger community, MMSD administration, and the Madison Police Department — to “develop strategies of prevention and mitigation” and “reimagine” Madison Schools’ relationship with the MPD.
She acknowledges that the schools and MPD will continue to work together. She calls for “evaluating resources needed to best support our students and our staff.” At the core of Gloria’s statement is a concern for all students: “we owe it to them to pursue a viable alternative to SROs in our buildings.”
Gloria’s respectful approach with its sensitivity and nuance has put in motion an intentional, deliberate process that will, ultimately, ensure a safe learning environment for our students. As former members of the Board of Education we have supported having a well-trained SRO in each high school but understand how complicated this issue is right now. The contract between MMSD and MPD currently is suspended because of virtual instruction; there is time to thoughtfully consider “…MMSD’s safety and security strategy.” We wish our current board well.
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