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Rally supporting the removal of School Resource Officers turns into a march

Protestors march to DPI building
Published: Jun. 25, 2020 at 8:11 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A rally supporting the removal of School Resource Officers (SROs) from the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) turned into a march Thursday evening.

Protesters want Madison schools to end their contract with the city police department. This rally was already scheduled, but follows Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway’s press conference Wednesday evening, where the public leader stood behind this request.

“Madison city and school district leaders agreed to end the contract for SROs, the police officers that are stationed in high schools,” Rhodes-Conway said. “[We’re] calling for a new approach to managing conduct and supporting student needs.”

Rhodes-Conway and Madison Common Council Alders drafted a resolution that would terminate the contracts of current SROs on Friday. The MMSD school board will vote on Monday. The Common Council is expected to vote on the issue in July.

Freedom Inc. organized a rally that turned into a march. The demonstration started on the State Street side of the Capitol Square and the march ended on King Street outside of state office buildings where the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) is housed.

“[We’re here] to demand police free schools not just for Madison but for every school across this state and across this nation,” Freedom Inc. Youth Justice Director Bianca Gomez said.

Protestors also raised two flags on the two flag poles outside the building. A yellow one with the phrase “POLICE FREE SCHOOLS” and a black flag with a pig crossed out.

“In our schools, our kids are only about 18% of the population, but eighty-something percent of the arrests and citations,” Gomez said. “That is a disparity that nobody can deny, those reports come straight from the school district and straight from the police department.”

In addition to police free schools, Freedom Inc. is demanding that the Madison Metropolitan School District:

- Invest in the leadership of black youth and youth of color

- Use transformative justice instead of punishing young people

- And request that the most impacted youth, parents and trusted adults should have real decision-making power over schools

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