That’s an average of about 3.5 times a day or almost once per day to each school. According to a story in this morning’s Wisconsin State Journal the breakdown is 220 calls to East, 158 to La Follette, 170 to Memorial and 92 to West.
In addition to the raw numbers there were several serious and dangerous incidents. Two melees occurred outside of East, a student brought a loaded gun to La Follette and had to be subdued, and an autistic student was beaten by classmates. In another incident a teacher stood by (as he believed he was required to do by district policy) while his classroom erupted into a brawl. (And, by the way, the district has 141 teacher vacancies only weeks before the new school year begins, compared to just 30 at this same point in 2018.)
All this happened in the first full in-person school year without School Resource Officers, which had been assigned to the high schools for about three decades without incident. The School Board removed the officers in 2020, over the objections of the Police Chief but with the support of Mayor Satya Rhode-Conway.
Now, Police Chief Shon Barnes has proposed assigning a neighborhood officer to the areas around each of the schools. They would not be stationed inside of the schools, which was the objection offered so aggressively by the radical activist group Freedom, Inc.
In a sane world you’d think that the Superintendent, the Board, the Mayor and the City Council would rush to support Barnes’ proposal. But this is Madison, so you’d be wrong about that.
Data on whether the schools and the areas around them have become more dangerous have been muddled or unavailable, and neither the district nor police immediately pointed to any Monday that might paint a more accurate picture. Police spokesperson Stephanie Fryer did say that from Sept. 1, 2021, to June 15, police had hundreds of calls to the high schools at all hours of the day — specifically, 220 to East, 158 to La Follette, 170 to Memorial and 92 to West.
Members of the public in favor of SROs have tended to point to their absence last year as a main factor in the spate of violent incidents, while those opposed to SROs tend to blame such incidents on stress and other disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The board in March created its second school safety committee since removing the SROs. It continues to meet. Among the first committee’s 16 recommendations, adopted by the board in February 2021, were required debriefing sessions after every instance in which police are called to a school to examine, among other things, “what could have been done proactively to avoid involving law enforcement.”
The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”
2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results
My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results
Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results
Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.
No When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?