Madison School Board Makes Safety Recommendations After Police Removed from Schools
The recommendations include implementing restorative justice practices and dedicated spaces to support student mental health.
MADISON, Wis. — A Madison School Board committee has finalized budget recommendations for keeping students safe after the district terminated its contract with local law enforcement.
The Safety and Security Ad Hoc Committee was formed after the board unanimously voted in June to remove police from its schools following protests of the death of George Floyd, reports Wisconsin State Journal.
“We have to move with a sense of urgency before we open up our schools,” School Board President Gloria Reyes said at a meeting Thursday. “It is time now to put this all together and make these recommendations to the board.”
- A 3-5 year plan to implement holistic restorative justice practices and the addition of two full-time employees focused on restorative justice for high school students
- Facility improvements such as dedicated spaces to support student mental health
- The formation of an ongoing advisory group to involve community members, youth and families in disciplinary actions
- The creation of a Superintendent Advisory Committee consisting of community partners, families and students to develop a plan to enhance student and community involvement in school safety
- A debriefing process after each incident involving law enforcement in schools.
- Smaller class sizes
- Continued efforts to develop, recruit and maintain staff of color
- Hiring additional support staff
The recommendations will be shared with the full board in January with the goal of including them in next year’s budget process, according to Committee Chair Savion Castro.
On Feb. 15, the board will hold another meeting for public comment before they are included in Superintendent Carlton Jenkins’ first budget.
Thursday marked the committee’s final meeting, which raised concerns among many board members on whether or not the length of time between its formation and its termination was enough to establish a solid plan for improving student safety.
“We spent decades harming Black children, we spent two, three years on an ERO Ad Hoc Committee and we are supposed to meet in a few months to figure out how to repair all of that,” said committee member Bianca Gomez. “I just don’t think that this is enough time. I think it would be helpful if we could tell the board that these are our preliminary recommendations. I don’t think that this process was expansive enough to deal with something of this magnitude.”
Castro said members have the option to join the Superintendent Advisory Committee, giving them direct access to the implementation of the recommendations.