Should they call the police? MPS to revise wording in discipline policy

MILWAUKEE -- From school fights, to attacks on teachers, and drugs in the classroom -- Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) are in the process of changing their policy on how they punish students. The district is taking out the language that would have required schools to call police if they suspected criminal activity.

In 2015, the federal Office of Civil Rights found in Milwaukee Public Schools, minority students faced harsher punishment than their peers who were white. Part of the problem they determined was vague language in school policy.

The federal agency demanded changes.

Thursday, the school board adopted a new plan to close the discrepancy gap. Before they took a vote, some board members took a pause at some of the new language.

"The group shall call law enforcement if criminal activity is suspected," said a board member.

"We find them to be a little troubling," said Dakota Hall, with Leaders Igniting Transformation.

Dakota Hall leads the group "Leaders Igniting Transformation." His group argues police should not be called for most incidents in schools.

Dakota Hall

"Our district should be a sanctuary district that protects students and not involve them in the criminal justice system," Hall said.

The group says arrests lead to high dropout rates and a fast track to prison. Students with the group say police are not needed in their halls.

"It can be handled within the school," said a student.

"Sometimes I feel like it's too much," said another student.

In a surprise move, the school board agreed their new policy is still too vague; striking the words before approving a policy they say they will continue to work on.

So will police be called when criminal activity is suspected at school? The new administration is hoping to draft a clearer message before school begins in the fall.