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Minneapolis Public Schools votes to keep cops in schools

By Loretta VanPelt

Minneapolis, MN — At the August 8 Minneapolis Public Schools board meeting, directors voted to keep School Resource Officers in the schools. Before the meeting began, a group of young people with the Black Liberation Project, who have spent months speaking with school board members about the impact of having School Resource Officers in the schools, held a rally outside of the district offices.

During the public comment period of the board meeting, several students spoke about officers who abused their power and how having cops in the schools is part of the school-to-prison pipeline. They also gave solutions for the district to consider – such as using the $1.5 million in the contract for restorative justice work and hiring more counselors and social workers.

Board member Kerry Jo Felder, who represents families and students on the Northside of Minneapolis was also concerned about School Resource Officers in schools and proposed a compromise of a one-year contract and only 11 officers for the entire district. That proposal was voted down.

Director Felder also questioned why the office of civil rights was not a part of the discussion, and was told by the district legal counsel that the office does not deal with the School Resource Officers contract. The vote was eight to one, with Felder being the lone director voting against the SRO contract. This means that Minneapolis Public Schools agrees to a three-year contract to have Minneapolis police in the schools with a reduction of only two officers in the district. Members of the Black Liberation Project have vowed that the fight to remove School Resource Officers from the schools will not stop.

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