The following is a statement on behalf of the officers of the Saint Paul Federation of Educators:
The Saint Paul Federation of Educators recognizes the inherent and historical harm of policing our youth, both on the streets and in our schools. While some may feel safer with a badge and a gun in their neighborhood or in their classroom, many of our students do not – in fact, they may feel triggered and traumatized.
Another murder of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, at the hands of police has renewed calls ending policing in our schools.
The ultimate goal should be to stop policing our children, both in school and in the community. Policing can still happen without police officers in our schools. Without a plan, other adults will continue to police our students, officers will be called into our schools who don’t know our children and continue or cause greater harm.
Ending St. Paul Public Schools’ contract with the St. Paul Police Department is one step we could take to repair that harm. But if the school board decides to remove the seven school resource officers, the district needs to have a plan in place.
And that plan must include input from student, parents and educators. SPPS has a track record of making swift decisions without a thoughtful plan that includes serious conversations and engagement with the community.
The murder of our union brother Philando Castile brought SPFE members along with community members to action to call out those who are profiting off the incarceration and murder of black and brown members of our community. George Floyd’s murder at the hands of four police officers last week brought us to speak out with our broader union family about the need for new leadership and reform in the Police Federation of Minneapolis.
And the current COVID-19 crisis and distance learning highlights yet again the glaring inequities our students and families face every day. Food and housing insecurity. Little or no access to technology. Unaffordable health care. We can’t return to normal after this pandemic. We must move to a more just and equitable society where we support our students and communities, not police them.
Nick Faber, President
Sylvia Perez, Director of Non-Licensed Personnel
Erica Schatzlein, Vice-President
Sue Snyder, Treasurer
Robyn Asher, Secretary
Becky McCammon, Restorative Practice Coordinator