Milwaukee school board cuts ties with police

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MILWAUKEE — School board members in Wisconsin’s largest school district have voted to cut ties with police officers who patrol outside its schools.

The Milwaukee school board voted unanimously late Thursday. The district received more than 700 emails and letters overwhelmingly supporting the resolution, the Journal Sentinel reported.

Milwaukee Public Schools has paid officers to patrol neighborhoods around some schools, monitor dismissals and staff some athletic events. Unlike some other districts, the officers are not posted inside the schools. MPS serves nearly 75,000 students.

More than $1 million was budgeted for police contracts in the 2019-2020 school year and more than half was directed to those school resource officers.

The Milwaukee Police Department issued a statement during the meeting, saying it “fully supports” the MPS if it decides to remove the police and agrees the “funding should be reinvested into our public school system to support social services.”

The resolution also bars the district from buying and maintaining metal detectors, facial recognition and social media monitoring software.

School districts in several cities have terminated police contracts or taken steps toward that end, including Minneapolis, Denver, Oakland and Portland, Ore.

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