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La Crosse school board forms police study committee

Brad Williams

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The La Crosse School Board is ready to start studying the future of the district’s program having local police assigned to schools. 

Monday night, the board formed the “Fund 80” committee to help decide whether to continue the School Resource Officer program, started in 1993, beyond the next school year. 

Board president Laurie Cooper Stoll said the district has already gotten dozens of comments from the public.  

Other districts, such as Winona and Madison, have voted to remove school officers, following recent protests of police behavior against people of color. 

The committee is expected to issue a report three weeks from now.  

New La Crosse superintendent Aaron Engel cites research showing that many minority students are uncomfortable with having officers in school buildings.

“There are some students whose personal experiences with law enforcement have led to negative encounters,” Engel said. “And, when they see a uniformed officer in the building, it brings back some of those feelings and experiences, and it jeopardizes their ability to focus and learn in the classroom.”

The La Crosse district does not plan to end its contract with police before the current pact runs out next June.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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