Kenosha officer's knee on neck subject of school board debate

Parents in Kenosha debated whether police officers should be used as school security during a school board meeting Tuesday night, March 22. This, an off-duty officer was videotaped apparently kneeling on a middle school student's neck while breaking up a fight.

After that video was shared on social media, community groups encouraged people to attend Tuesday's school board meeting, which was the first meeting since the March 4 incident. That meeting went virtual Tuesday, with technical issues worked around not because of the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, the school board president said with the support of three other board members, they decided to go virtual because of past outbursts that left community members feeling bullied.

"The stuff that has been in the news lately is very concerning," said Elizabeth Murilo.

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The majority of the virtual public comment was about the videos spreading across social media. Those videos show a fight inside the cafeteria of Lincoln Middle School on March 4.  An off-duty officer working as a security guard is seen breaking up a fight between girls. He then put his knee on the neck of a 12-year-old. 

The district released the surveillance last week after Officer Shawn Guetschow resigned from the district. 

"There needs to be swift action taken when a full-grown adult puts his knee on the neck of a pre-teen – not a teenager, a pre-teen, a child, a literal child," said Omar Flores, Milwaukee Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression.

A number of social justice groups are demanding the district end all ties with the Kenosha Police Department.

"Police officers do not belong in school," said Laura Bielefeldt.

Several parents spoke strongly against this idea.

"These police need to be in our schools," said Billy Weathersby.

"Student and teacher safety should be a top priority for KUSD," said Bob Tierney. "Parents should not have to worry about violence when they drop their kids off at school."

The officer is still employed with the Kenosha Police Department which is investigating what happened. 

There was another layer to Tuesday night's board meeting as it was the last one before the April 5 election in which three board members are being challenged. 

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