Thursday, December 17, 2015

Worcester School Committee: public petition on student arrests

The petition is here. 
Gordon Davis speaking:
have lived in Worcester for 47, 48 years now, kids went to Worcester Public Schools
petition that a policy be set by this school committee set today or in the very near future that no student be arrested
unless there is an emergency
out of compliance
no Memorandum of Understanding, there probably will be no MOU this year
officers say no one at the school, even the principal, can make them stand down
since the beginning of school have been at least 19 arrests, at least two at middle school level
most for "incidents or disorderly" not crimes
should be handled under 222 that sets forth disciplinary policies
asks that the school committee get into compliance
sort of a racist school to prison pipeline
being rude to a police officer is a crime
"again, I'm begging this school committee to take charge of the police officers in the schools"
may be an abuse of police power now

Gwen Davis:
Alabama model for SROs which criminalizing student behavior is being considered
enough developmentally appropriate pedagogy available
not enough input from parents and students
would like to see more art and music along with peer mediators and guidance counselors
police in the schools will not make the schools safe

Sally Laporte:
schools are a place for kids to be learning
"the ones that aren't getting arrested, it's affecting them as well"
eventually there's going to be autonomy issues
"when it comes to schools, you guys should have the sovereign decision"

David Ballian (sp?)
echo what my comrades have said
"they've got to get out, they're not there for the safety of the kids"

Ideala Hazard (sp?)
"sending the kids and the teachers and the public a message, that we are unable to deal with the children"
"that scares the children... and it sends them even more out of control"
"we had those courses before and our children are worth that"
"don't think we should be scaring them half to death"
was an out-of-control kid
kids shouldn't be arrested because they have ADD
saying kids without special ed, "yeah, you're out of control, so we're going to arrest you"
not a good message

Walter Joval (sp?)
counselor at a drop-in center
see what happens when police officers are involved with children
not only for kids but for the families
also student at Clark University, systematic barriers for boys to not achieve in higher ed
when kids are set away and have criminal records discourages kids from completing their educations
recruiting college students for mentors
look for other solutions

Chris Robarge, ACLU
have spoken to most of you on this committee before on student arrests
Arrested Futures: picture looked pretty good for Worcester
didn't have many arrests
"very troubled to see where we are today"
course has been charted by other cities; "we can see the future"
"the more police there are in schools, the more arrests there are in schools"
were 13 in last year of report, now at 19 "maybe 21, maybe 22, police aren't sure"
"does seem to be a correlation there"
"I'm sure that someone there can read 22 police reports and see the fact cases"
"if we have police in our schools, and right now we do, we need a Memoradum of Understanding"
has been going for years: not clear it exists
"however, on this issue, and on some issues that are going to be brought up on the safety audit"
consider the data of communities where these sorts of things have been implemented
ACLU is creating a model MOU
holistic model
"understand that this is primarily an administrative piece...very interested in speaking with administration once this come together"

Len Zalauskas:
"kids who behave don't have anything to worry about"
good police officers who were chosen by the chief to go into the schools
"not on a lightly regarded issue, it's something serious"
"fact of the matter is that some teachers want police in their schools"

Ron Madnick
"the thing I fear the most is a gun in a school, whether it's on police officer or anyone else"
"could that gun be taken from the officer by a student"
"can a police officer make us more safe by maybe the perimeter of the school?"
"I think the question for the school committee is is that the best use of your money? Wouldn't it better to have more psychologists? To have more counselors?"
most are one time expenses, door locks
other expenses are year after year after year
"is that the best use of your money?"

Ruth Rodriguez
retired WPS teacher
have travelled across the country
"pleading with this board to please see what's going on"
school to prison pipeline: "it's very real"
prison systems are now privatized
"when you have a business, that's how you make your money: they have prisoners"
afraid that we continue this idea that students need police officers rather than music and art
pleading with you, the money that we are spending on these tests, that have nothing to do with our students' learning
Worcester has the possibility to follow what the Governor of California did: end the tests

Keith Scott:
not an advocate for police in schools, "more an advocate for education"
certain individuals who have graduated from regular schools
"I think that the negative image that we put police in schools takes away from the whole learning process"
start labelling students
take them away from the family thing that they grow up on
see kids as a result of the school to prison pipeline
"there are groups that are advocating education"

Rev. Aaron Payson
part of a national trauma team traveled across the country who have suffered various traumas
one of the issues we had to deal with was that sheriff wanted to deputize someone in the congregation that there be a gun the building
"which is absurd. You know it and I know it."
part of what the violence we have witnesses is that we have alienated from each others
don't know each other
idea that the mere presence of a person with a weapon is going to protect us..."it just doesn't work that way"
does do is tell our students that any action out of line can find them in the judicial process
behavior is not something to develop, have to "fall in line"
ask yourself if the principal gets to dicate what happens with the officers in their schools
"I suspect that you will find" that they do not
"lucky that we have not yet faced a lawsuit"
"you have allowed this situation to be created...alutimately you will pay for this, and we will too as a community"
"banking on chaos and calling it discipline"

Rodrigues MOU exists and will be posted online as part of weekly update

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