New report shows arrests, citations at MMSD high schools in 2019-20 remain disproportionate

Scott Girard:

A new report from the Madison Metropolitan School District shows that police interactions with students continued recent trends in 2019-20, with few citations and arrests but Black students making up a disproportionate number of those.

While the data come with caveats — most notably that the in-person school year was three months shorter than normal because of the COVID-19 pandemic — the report outlines statistics for Madison Police Department officers responding to each of the four comprehensive high schools, including interactions with students that resulted in arrests and citations.

The numbers were low compared to the student population, but among those who were arrested or cited, a disproportionate number were once again Black students. The data include incidents involving the school resource officers stationed at each of the four schools as well as officers who responded to a school campus for a call.

The report, which covers Sept. 1, 2019, through March 13, 2020, comes about a month after the School Board voted unanimously to end the more-than-20-year-old SRO program amid a nationwide reckoning with systemic racism, especially in policing. Board member Ali Muldrow cited the ongoing disparities ahead of her vote.

“Over the course of the entire lifespan of this program of policing in schools, a majority of students every year to be arrested in school are African American children,” Muldrow said June 29. “Policing in schools has had an impact in terms of racial profiling within education.”

2005: Gangs & School Violence Forum.

1995-2006: Police Calls – Madison Schools.