School Board Continues Discussion on Police Contract

The La Crosse School Board took no action at a meeting Monday on a proposal to form a committee to investigate ending the $250,000 contract that pays to put police officers in local schools.

However, the board will take up the matter again when it meets July 6. No board members at Monday’s meeting expressed opposition to forming the committee.

“A key part of the process should be getting input from the student body to hear what they think about having police officers in their schools,” said school board member Keonte R. Turner.

Since the issue was raised at last week’s meeting of the school board, there has been pushback to the idea of the school district removing police from schools from La Crosse police department assistant chief Rob Abraham. 

Logan High School principal Wally Gnewikow also sent a letter to parents noting that he “strongly believed” teachers, parents and students should be given input on an issue he said could have a “tremendous impact on staff and students.”

At Monday’s meeting, school board president Dr. Laurie Cooper Stoll made clear that she is also in favor of seeking input from a broad range of groups and individuals about the police contract, which ends in June 2021. She also said that if the board votes to form the committee, it would gather input from the full school board on what questions the committee should be seeking to answer about the police contract.

Cooper Stoll had initially suggested the board would vote at Monday’s meeting on forming the committee, but that vote is now not expected until the board meeting on Monday, July 6.

The $250,000 contract the district has with the La Crosse Police Department pays for five police officers who are placed in the district’s middle and high schools and one district-wide D.A.R.E. officer.

The Winona school board voted unanimously last week to remove a police officer from its schools. A series of school districts in major cities around the country have voted to remove police from schools in the weeks since the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, which triggered mass protests against police violence and racism.

By Eric Timmons. Questions? Email lacrosseindependent@gmail.com. Top photo credit: A view of La Crosse from Grandad Bluff by Runner 1928/CC BY-SA 3.0

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