Citing a “blatant disregard for black lives” on the part of city police, a Minneapolis school board member is calling upon the district to sever its contract with the department for school resource officers (SROs), or cops in the schools.
Josh Pauly tweeted on Friday that he would be pushing for board approval of the move on Tuesday, and he added that he already had the support of Chairwoman Kim Ellison and Board Member Siad Ali.
“Our communities are in pain and our city is on fire,” Pauly said in reference to the death of George Floyd and the protests that followed. “The people of our city are demanding justice.”
His announcement came the same week that University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel said the school was cutting some of its ties with the police department, including the contracting of off-duty security for football games, concerts and ceremonies.
The Minneapolis and St. Paul school districts both have faced criticism over the use of school resource officers, and both have sought to transform the SROs’ role to being more of a mentor than an enforcer.
In 2018-19, a Minneapolis Public Schools survey gave mostly positive marks to the officers. But the data also showed that school cops had more interactions with black students than with their peers.
Pauly’s proposal directs Superintendent Ed Graff to terminate the SRO contract, cease any negotiations to continue with their services and recommend by Aug. 18 an alternative plan to ensure student safety.
Also Friday, the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers announced it backs a district move to sever ties with police, saying the money could be better spent on student mental health support.