On Friday, Minneapolis Public School Board Director and Clerk Josh Pauly announced that he wrote a resolution to terminate the district’s contract with the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD). The resolution was written with the support of Chair Kim Ellison and Director Siad Ali, and will be brought before the board on June 2nd. The contract, signed in August 2017 for $1.15 million per year and 14 School Resource Officers, was up for negotiation this year.
The move comes in response to the murder of George Floyd on Monday night by four MPD officers, who have since been fired. Pauly tweeted his support for the movement, saying “MPS cannot align itself with MPD and claim to fight institutional racism. We cannot partner with organizations that do not see the humanity in our students. We cannot be neutral in situations of injustice.”
According to Pauly, the resolution serves to terminate MPS’s existing contract with MPD, cease future negotiations, and work with Superintendent Ed Graff to better serve students in the future.
Though MPD was not explicitly mentioned, a districtwide email sent by Graff on Friday hinted that MPS had changes in store in response to Floyd’s murder. “I am not naive about the role systems like MPS have historically played in the disenfranchisement of many in our community. You have my commitment that we will continue to improve our own work,” he wrote. “We will ensure our policies and practices don’t perpetuate harm, especially to children of color and American Indian students.”
MPS’s contract with the Police Department has become increasingly controversial over the last several years, with the budget and amount of SROs reduced when the contract was last renewed in 2017. However, the events involving the police department this week provided a push to end the contract and cease negotiations even before discussions of renewal in August.
“In the last 24 hours I have heard from more students than I have heard from my entire time on the board, and very strongly they have been asking us to end our contract or agreement with MPD. And then I’ve heard from community members as well, and I’d say it’s the same thing, overwhelmingly the community has asked for change,” Pauly said on Friday. “We [Pauly, Ali, and Ellison] just talked about how this is something that’s long overdue.”
Both Pauly and Ellison anticipate that the resolution will pass on Tuesday, expressing hope that the Board would move forward to create new safety measures for students. “I’m hearing from students saying that ‘I don’t feel safe, seeing an armed uniformed officer in my building,’” said Ellison. “I hope we find a better way of providing safety for students that don’t include officers in school buildings, that’s my personal desire.” Increased community support, social workers, and counselors are options that Ellison would like to explore going forward.
To learn more about the fight to get SROs out of schools in MPS, go to ypac.mn on social media
To tell superintendent Ed Graff not to renew the contract with MPD, call (612) 668-0200 or email [email protected]
For contact information of the other school board members who will be voting on this resolution, go to http://board.mpls.k12.mn.us/