The Wisconsin chapter of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both a part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today released the following statements after the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) Board of Education voted to remove uniformed police officers, also referred to as school resource officers (SROs), from Madison public schools:
“I’m grateful to the Madison School Board for putting the safety of all of Madison’s students first with yesterday’s vote,” said Jennifer Rosen-Heinz, a parent in the Madison Metropolitan School District and a volunteer with the Wisconsin chapter of Moms Demand Action. “This is local decision-making at its best, with the School Board recognizing the disproportionate effect on Black and brown students, hearing the community’s concerns, and taking action. The bottom line is there are better, evidence-based solutions to keep schools safe from gun violence that don’t cause harm.”
The vote terminates the MMSD’s current $350,000 contract with the Madison Police Department and removes all school resource officers from Madison public schools.
There is no research indicating that SROs are effective at deterring school gun violence or mass shootings. Research does show, however, that Black and brown students are already disciplined at higher rates than their white peers, and that armed presence in schools is associated with an increase in middle school discipline rates, a decrease in high school graduation rates, and a decrease in college enrollment.
The best way to keep students safe in schools is to stop gun violence before it can begin. The data is clear that most active shooters in schools are current or former students, who showed warning signs and accessed guns from the home of their parents or close relatives. That means passing common-sense legislation like red flag laws, raising awareness about the need for secure firearm storage in the home, funding mental health professionals, implementing evidence-based threat assessment programs that help school staff evaluate and intervene when a student poses a threat to themselves or others, and improving the physical security of schools.