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SROs good and bad for schools, according to speakers at La Crosse on-line forum

Brad Williams

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There are mixed feelings in the community about whether to keep police officers in La Crosse school buildings. 

Several of the speakers during an on-line school board forum last night called for an end to the SRO program, as some other school districts have done. 

Mai Lee was one of the opponents, citing local statistics to show that police tend to target non-white students.

“In 2014, a La Crosse County task force found that youths of color in La Crosse County are nine times more likely than their white peers to be arrested,” said Lee. “Why should we continue to build a program that has always failed us, and continues to fail us?”

Laura Abellera argued that police in America have practiced systemic racism.

“We have to understand that the institution of policing in our country continues to cause harm, devastation, and continues to take the lives of our black and brown brothers and sisters with no sign of ever slowing in that destruction,” she said.  

Former La Crosse Boys and Girls Club director Mike Desmond, who taught in La Crosse Catholic schools, says police have been good for programs at the clubs. upports the SRO program.    

La Crosse schools have had SRO’s since 1993, and the current contract with police ends next summer.      

Superintendent Aaron Engel is facing a November deadline for proposing a policy to the school board.      

 

       

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.