Madison School Board backs contract that would keep police officers in high schools

Logan Wroge:

The Madison School Board on Monday backed a proposed contract that would keep police officers at Madison’s four main high schools.

Board members voted 4-2 in favor of the proposed contract, which would emphasize alternative disciplines instead of arresting or citing students, lay the groundwork for a new complaint procedure against the officers and require more training in areas such as autism, adolescent brain development and implicit bias.

The board, though, added contract language that would give the Madison School District the ability to require an officer be replaced for cause.

“The reality is things that we don’t control make having (police officers) in our schools absolutely the best decision,” said board president Mary Burke. “Unfortunately yes, there are downsides, unintended consequences.”

Members T.J. Mertz, James Howard, Dean Loumos and Burke supported the contract, Nicki Vander Meulen and Kate Toews voted against it, and Gloria Reyes was not present for the vote.

Earlier in the meeting, the school board approved by a vote of 5-2 a new specialized learning track for its Personalized Pathways program to go in effect at East, La Follette and Memorial high schools during the 2019-20 school year.