After two melees outside of East High School last fall, after a student was beaten outside of West, after another student showed up at La Follette with a loaded handgun and had to be wrestled to the ground by Madison police, after another La Follette student with special needs was beaten so badly that he requires dental surgery, and after that very same student was attacked again on his first day back in school, and after yet another fight in a classroom at East just on Monday, the Madison School Board responded with…. a committee,,, that it just got around to actually creating this week.
And, of course, all the members of the 13 member committee have not been appointed yet. And, of course, one of the tasks of the committee is to identify the “root causes” of the violence. There is no timetable for the committee’s report, but I would not look for it next week.
If this strikes you as something short of a sense of urgency, well, you might be forgiven.
“I don’t think they understand how dangerous this has become and how it has harmed young students who are just trying to get an education,” Lynn Lee, whose daughter attends East, told the Wisconsin State Journal.
“I feel terrible for the students and the teachers who are continually forced to deal with impossible situations like (Monday’s) and all of the students involved who are not receiving the learning environment they deserve,” he said.
That same State Journal story noted that board President Ali Muldrow and Vice President Savion Castro didn’t respond to the paper’s requests for comment. They won’t even answer questions about why it took so long to do what is essentially nothing. Not exactly models of public servants there.
Here’s what needs to happen.
- School Resources Officers need to be returned to the high schools tomorrow.
2. The Behavior Education Plan, which among other things discourages school staff from contacting police, needs to be tossed out. Any document that begins with, “we believe in authentic relationships,” is not promising for what might follow. What the heck does that even mean?
3. The board and administration need to make clear statements to students that those who fight in or around schools will be expelled and, where possible, charges will be filed against them and, if their parents are involved as they were in the East melees, against them as well.
4. The board and administration also needs to tell school staff that when they act to prevent violence proactively their bosses will have their backs.
But, of course, none of that will happen. In my decades of being actively involved with or observing the Madison schools this is the flat out worst school board I have ever seen.
Postscript: Shortly after this was posted yesterday another fight broke out near East, this time involving a couple dozen students at Demetral Field.
And another matter… Assembly Speaker Robin Vos will meet with advocates of withdrawing Wisconsin’s electoral votes and reassigning them to Donald Trump. He’s essentially giving credibility to people who want to overturn free, fair and accurate election results. His excuse for the meeting is that they should have a chance to make their case. Okay. Next he should meet with the Flat Earth Society. Then he needs to hear out the creationists. I’d like just a half hour with him so that I can introduce him to the Easter Bunny.
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