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Madison, WI: New contract for school police officers; requires training in autism/disabilities

Dec 18, 2018, (Madison) Wisconsin State Journal: Madison School Board backs contract that would keep police officers in high schools 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."… More than 50 people spoke at the meeting with a large majority of them opposing SROs [School Resource Officers]. Employees of and students involved with Freedom Inc., a local social justice organization, shared their personal stories about negative interactions with police officers as they urged the board to reject the contract and put the funds for SROs toward other initiatives…. After regularly showing up at school board and committee meetings for nearly two years, several people expressed frustration, saying board members were not listening to them…. The new contract would have the school district develop a complaint procedure for students, family members and district staff to file grievances against an SRO that would be a separate process than the Police Department's complaint process….

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