A School Board proposal written in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death would mean that police officers would no longer work in district schools. Those officers are known as school resource officers, or SROs.
The board has called a special virtual meeting for Tuesday to vote on whether to terminate its three-year contract with the Minneapolis Police Department, which runs through Aug. 20, for the services of 14 SROs.
The resolution asks the superintendent for recommendations on “how the students of the district will be served and safely maintained” by Aug. 18.
“While our school board does not have the ability or authority to arrest and prosecute the officers who murdered George Floyd, we do have the ability to send MPD a very clear message — not only through public statements — but through action,” board member Josh Pauly (at-large) wrote on Twitter.
Read the resolution here.
Pauly, Siad Ali (Cedar-Riverside, Longfellow) and board chair Kim Ellison (at-large) are sponsoring the resolution.
Pauly wrote on Twitter that the district can’t “align itself with MPD and claim to fight institutional racism” and partner with “organizations that do not see the humanity in our students.
He added that he hopes the resolution is a “small step towards the dramatic changes that are needed in our city and beyond.”
Board member Jenny Arneson (Northeast) wrote on Twitter that the resolution is an “appropriate response.”
Police have worked in Minneapolis schools since the 1960s, and the district and police department have had a formal contract since 1980. In the past, the district has said it prefers working with SROs over trained security guards because they are better trained and qualified in handling high-threat situations and because security guards can’t arrest people.
District leaders haven’t publicly released a response to the resolution. But in a separate statement Friday, Superintendent Ed Graff asked the community to “collectively embrace hope by turning our attention to our children.”
He also said he’s “not naïve” about the role systems like the district have played in disenfranchising many people. He vowed to do more to teach history that’s more inclusive and nuanced, ensure curriculum and instruction are reflective of students in the district and ensure that policies and practices don’t harm children of color.
“I know that as a school community we are a resilient people and we will find a way through this together for the good of our future, for the good of the children,” he wrote.