Meeting to discuss EROs in Madison schools heats up

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - An Ad-Hoc committee held a meeting Wednesday evening to discuss the future of the Madison School Board’s Education Resource Officer (ERO) program.

The intention of the meeting was to gather public input on how police officers should be incorporated to the school system.

One parent said, "Having kids in the Madison Metropolitan School District, I feel much better knowing that there are officers on site."

As the meeting continued, opinions began to vary. One concerned attendee said she was worried about officers making students of color feel unsafe.

"No matter how, whatever stipulations you put on a police officer going into a school, they're doing to do whatever they want to do and what they are trained to do...which is kill black kids, and harass black kids."

The program currently supplies each Madison high school with a police officer on-site. The committee has been meeting since early 2017 to discuss replacing EROs with a district-wide police liaison program.

Shadyra Kilfoy-Flores said she feels an officer in school is a safety threat.

"My concern is for not only my child's safety but all children's safety. I don't feel any safer having an armed officer in the school. In fact, I feel quite the opposite. I feel my child is a potential target," said Kilfoy-Flores.

The meeting was adjourned at the end of the night, with no agreement, the committee's proposal will continue to be evaluated.

Dean Loumos, A MMSD School Board Member said the committee isnt done yet.

"The initial idea was to bring this proposal and people count amend it, disagree with it, and change it," said Loumos.

The liaison program would involve roughly 20 officers from the Madison Police Department who would receive specialized training. Additionally, rather than being stationed in school buildings, the officers would increase patrols near the school and be in close contact with school officials to respond to incidents at the schools.