Police and Madison Schools

Bill Lueders and Jason Shepherd:

In the 2004-05 school year, police were summoned to Madison schools more than 1,500 times and made nearly 400 arrests, mostly of students. Recently Isthmus writer Jason Shepard went through raw data of police reports to compile spreadsheets of police calls and arrests, arranged by school. One resulting finding — that students of color account for a sharply disproportionate percentage of arrests — has stirred particular concern, a topic explored in Shepard’s column for the Oct. 21 edition of Isthmus. Included here is that column and three spreadsheets that provide cumulative data

4 thoughts on “Police and Madison Schools”

  1. I’d be interested to see these data broken down by socioeconomic variables and a similar comparison to the percentage overall in MMSD and in individual schools.

  2. Did I miss something in this article? Nowhere do the authors delineate between arrests made at a MMSD school as a result of a violation of the law on school property as opposed to an arrest made at a MMSD school as a result of a violation of the law elsewhere. School IS the easiest place to serve an arrest warrant, and I think you’re very hard-pressed to draw conclusions based on race in regards to safety at MMSD schools and potential targeting of minority kids by MMSD employees.

  3. Our community does need to look at the behavior issues facing teachers, principals and staff everyday. Statistics are one aspect of reviewing those behaviors. Interviewing principals, teachers(regular classroom and special education), supportive staff (counselors, social workers, psychologists) would add another perspective, as would talking to some of the parents of these students who are included in these statistics. It seems to me there is a larger picture than just the numbers.

  4. One of the most important comments in the Isthmus story came from Ray Allen: “There is a great reluctance on the part of the staff, primarily white staff, to intervene early on with young people of color when their behavior is not appropriate.” Then kids push the envelope further in terms of behavior, and “you wind up with a major incident that causes the police to be involved.”
    When staff hesitate (as they do for a variety of reasons) to apply the same standards of behavior to all kids regardless of the color of their skin, the kids of color only suffer later in school and life. Yet, it happens every day.
    In the Madison schools and in the larger society, people of different races often don’t know how to relate to each other. I wish that I knew a solution.

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