Amid a national conversation on policing and race, Dane County school districts are taking a closer look at the work officers do in their schools but so far have not gone as far as the Madison School District and removed them entirely.
Of the 16 districts completely or predominantly within the county, 12 had school resource officers, or SROs, at the beginning of the 2019-20 school year. As of last week, at least nine of them had either decided to continue their existing SRO programs or were in the process of working with their local police departments to make changes to their programs for when the coronavirus pandemic abates and students can return to in-person learning.
The Madison School Board on June 29 voted to end its contract with the city of Madison for SROs at each of the district’s four main high schools. The decision followed protests against police in Madison and across the country in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis Police custody, as well as years of pressure on the board from local activist group Freedom Inc., whose members regularly shouted down public board meetings and protested at the School Board president’s home.
Since Madison’s action, at least one other local government body in Dane County — the Middleton City Council — has voted against its local school district’s SRO program.