|A Column from Middleton-Cross Plains Student Stephen Colison
This Isn’t Just About SROs
then what duties do SROs fill? Couldn’t they be filled by another type of professional? The MHS Alumni Network has been asked repeatedly to supply Middleton-Cross
Plains specific data to back up our words, but the District has given us no data in return. Quantitatively, can the district tell us how much crime the SROs have
prevented? Where is the proof that the SROs are helpful and what good have they done for the middle schools and high school? And if they have done a lot of good,
then why are students skeptical of their efficacy? At Glacier Creek Middle School, the teachers sent a letter to the District asking to hire an SRO to help control the
students. The District quickly provided an officer. How did the SRO program in the MCPASD get implemented so quickly with little community involvement and why is
the program so hard to remove then?
An easy argument some make to support SROs in school is to stop school shootings. But there is no data that conclusively says that police in schools effectively do
this. If the MCPASD is so dedicated to preventing shootings, then why haven’t they provided counselors who could easily identify and address dangerous behavior
before something bad happens? If they are so worried about shootings, then why aren’t there any SROs in the elementary schools?
The District has a crisis handbook that every citizen should have easy access to and read. Our schools already have a very thorough crisis plan in the event of a
shooter appearing on campus. The staff, not the SRO, is trained to handle these situations. So if the necessary people have already been trained, do the police really
need to be on campus?
The Board of Education has also told us that change is difficult because of COVID-19, but they are still dedicated to racial equity. If the upcoming school year is to be
online, has the district put in the work to make sure the BIPOC, ESL, and disadvantaged students have everything that they need for a successful school year? Have
they publicly asked for input from all the current students? Because it doesn’t look like they have. And what sickens me to my core is that the District has decided to
gut their restorative justice program. How does cutting the funding to a restorative justice program while continuing to fund problematic systems progress the
District’s goal towards racial equity? I have to ask myself what other beneficial programs the District has cut in order to keep the SRO program running.
The last questions that I have for the District are about transparency. It is important for the public to know that on Thursday, July 16, the Cross Plains board president,
Middleton Common Council president, school board president, chief of Middleton police, chief of CP police, all secondary school principals, and district level
administration met to reflect on our petition. Many administrators have expressed how important it is to hear from “both sides” of the argument with an “emphasis on
the POC voices.”
Part 2 of 2
I spent all of my life having to justify my existence as a Black person in the MCPASD and every other
school I’ve attended. I was called “one of the good Black students” by my classmates and teachers
and I took that as a compliment. That thought saddens me because being a “good Black student”
was just a divisive tool used in the MCPASD to pit Black students against each other so they couldn’
t unite and call out the District’s racist actions. I used my grades as proof that I belonged in the
District and that I mattered. I find myself doing something similar right now.
For the past month, the MHS Alumni Network has had to go to ridiculous, stressful lengths to prove
our legitimacy. On Friday, July 10th, our group met with District administration. I must be honest
when I say that the meeting was tough. It’s hard to rework an entire district via Zoom, but it's even
harder when the multiple parties involved are skeptical of one another. District members made this
clear through the structure of the meeting- information was crammed into 60 minutes and we were
given little time to ask in-depth questions. When we asked to schedule a second meeting with
Superintendent Dana Monogue, her email was quick, dismissive and unwilling to commit to another
meeting. I am now tired of having to explain all of my actions. Superintendent Monogue and her
colleagues are hyper-focused on the SRO issue and won’t listen to the BIPOC students who have
gone through the MCPASD. So, if she wants to talk about the SRO program, then it is incumbent on
me to publicly ask her the questions she refuses to answer. Questions that I think we should all be
According to the District, the SROs do not act unless the administrators say so. If that is true, then
why are SROs in the schools in the first place? If the administrators are really the ones in control,
So why are the elite of this city meeting without any community input? The information
from the meeting should at least be made public. Meetings with the District are hard to
set up and sending in a comment is even harder. To many families, they are intangible
and often out of reach. Why are the District and the Board so exclusive? What is to gain
from their exclusivity if not power? For the MCPASD to change for the better,
transparency from the MHS Alumni Network, the District administration, and the Board of
Education is critical.
The actions of the District highlight our underlying point that they are failing to listen to
their BIPOC community members and failing to provide the proper channels for them to
speak up and push back. I see the recent social media posts from District leaders like
Laura Love and other white administrators preaching how important it is to dismantle
white supremacy. I now see that their words are hollow, hypocritical, and performative.
This District loves a good performance, but our Black and Brown students deserve
more. They deserve concrete actions. The District is so dedicated to maintaining law and
order and the status quo, and are so uncomfortable with us, that they are willing to
sacrifice the needs of their students of color. It is not our intention to derail any of the
hard work that members of the District are doing. There are some key players who have
helped push the MCPASD to a more inclusive and equitable community. We are eager to
work with everyone and walk with them every step of the way.
I am also calling on the MCPASD Board of Education to work with us to create a more
inclusive and safe environment for our BIPOC students. I direct that statement directly to
Board President Annette Ashley, Treasurer Bob Hesselbein, Clerk Todd Smith, and Board
Member Paul Kinne who all represent Area IV — the area with the largest population of
BIPOC students. This Board has said that they are dedicated to listening to students and
families of color, but we need to see that. When Board members like Anne Bauer post
rants on Facebook that completely miss the point, it actively silences and ignores the
people of color that need to be heard. That is not listening. That is reacting.
The Board has also continued to ignore our requests for an open forum for them to hear
their community's concerns. It's irresponsible of them to continue to make it exclusive
and difficult for their community members to know what's going on, speak up, and hold
them accountable. I find it disturbing how they continue to maintain systems of white
supremacy, and I will remember that at the next election. I have gone to school with
their kids, acted with them in school plays, and even visited their houses. If the Board
members could take a small interest in the life of a random Black kid that is friends with
their children, then surely they can do that for the rest of the people of color in the district.
On July 12th, the people of Middleton gathered in a march to stand against racism. I
highly suggest anyone that attended to read over our petition and sign it if you are
dedicated to creating an equitable and fair city. I also implore the people of this city to
not only fight for the Black and Brown lives lost to police violence and racism, but also
to fight for the Black and Brown lives of the people living in this city. If we are “The Good
Neighbor City” then we need to embody that in every way, shape and form. This
movement isn’t just for Atatiana Jefferson, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Elijah
McClain. I think about the Black students that were left behind by the District every
single day. This is for them too because all they needed was someone who cared. Our
current students need that care and love too, and it is my hope that you all are ready to
fight for them too.
Our petition, and other related information, can be found at linktr.ee/racismfreemcpasd.