My answers to the Madison Professional Police Officers’ Association Endorsement Questionnaire
I am not seeking the endorsement of MPPOA and am providing answers for information purposes only. TJM
Our [MPPOA] endorsement questionnaire follows:
1. Please explain your position on the placement of MPPOA members in MMSD school facilities as SROs.
Whether we continue the Educational/School Resource Officer program or not, there will regularly be police in our schools. I believe that continuing the program under the recommendations of the Ad Hoc Committee which provide clarity on the roles of officers, training requirements, and increased oversight is the best way forward.
See here for the Ad Hoc Committee Report and recommendations –
2. What are your thoughts on pay and benefits for MTI members over the course of your term in office?
For all employee groups, I have supported continuing step increases and base wage increases at or above the Consumer Price Index. Because my spouse is an MMSD employee, I have recused myself from compensation matters for her bargaining unit (ESEA-MTI), and because MMSD Health Care Benefits are not differentiated among non-Administrative employees, I have recused myself on this also (although one time since I was elected, I did testify as a citizen against proposed changes in Health Insurance).
3. How do you rate MMSD’s preparedness for preventing and responding to threats of active violence in our schools?
I think the recent development of school safety plans has improved MMSD’s preparedness. However, I worry that we are investing too much time and money to prevent or prepare for extremely rare events, instead of investing in teaching and learning (including social-emotional and behavioral), and community strengthening.
4. How can restorative justice best practices be expanded in the Madison community and schools?
“Best practices” is the key phrase here. As we consider expanding, the Board, the district, the community need a deeper understanding of the great variety of things being done under the umbrella of “Restorative Justice,” and “Restorative Approaches,” what is working, in what circumstances, and what is not. Restorative justice can be powerful in building relationships and community, and repairing these; but it is not a panacea for all the behavioral, climate, and safety issues in our schools.
5. Our membership feels that the debate in Madison about the school-to-prison pipeline has lacked nuance and hampered effective solutions to the disparities our city faces. How, if at all, do you feel that the members of MPPOA contribute to the school-to-prison pipeline?
We all need to recognize that in Madison, as in the rest of the nation, school disciplinary practices have excluded and alienated vulnerable students, instead of providing them with the supports they need to be successful; that these practices have disproportionately, impacted students of color, students with disabilities, and students in poverty, and that behaviors that are best dealt with as school matters have
resulted in students being referred to the criminal justice system through citations and arrests. The school to prison pipeline is real; schools, police, and the larger society all contribute to it. By recognizing this, and working together, we can do better for our students. That said, I agree that much of the discussion in Madison has lacked nuance. I think the report of the ERO Ad Hoc Committee linked above, is an important exception. I was part of the creation of that committee, a member, helped draft the report, and am very proud of the work. Unfortunately, many – both those who oppose continuing the program, and those who support it – have been dismissive of the work.