For the Sake of Milwaukee’s Children, Get Cops Back in MPS Schools

By Mike Nichols

Aug. 11, 2022 – Students in Milwaukee’s public high schools who want a better life and know that school is their only way up are being battered, assaulted and exposed to gunfire or other reckless conduct on a daily basis.

Simply put: It is an absolute moral imperative to get police officers back into Milwaukee public schools immediately.

Smart, young kids striving to escape chaos can’t do it alone, surely can’t compete for spots in the best schools or even stay focused on a book or test when they’re fearful of miscreants carrying guns and shooting at each other.

The essential facts are in Mark Lisheron’s piece that we released today:

The Milwaukee Police Department responded to 1,310 calls for service at 34 MPS-controlled high schools in the 2021-’22 school year, an average of 7.2 calls every school day.

Marshall High School officials made 140 calls for service, far and away the most frequent caller. Washington, Madison and Riverside University high schools, with 91, 90 and 89 calls, respectively, were next. Bradley Tech, Vincent, Hamilton, Pulaski and North Division each made between 80 and 71 calls, according to the MPD data.

High schools reported “trouble with juvenile” more than 250 times, well over once a school day, by far the most frequent call for service in the past school year. There were more than 100 reports of “battery,” most frequently at Vincent, Bradley Tech, Riverside and Pulaski, according to the data.

There were 75 reports of a “reckless vehicle,” 39 of “sexual assault,” 39 of a “subject with gun” and 15 of “shots fired,” the data showed.

As Lisheron points out, the Milwaukee Public School board in June 2020 tore up a contract that allowed the Milwaukee Police Department to patrol outside schools. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on the vote at the time, writing that MPS was “the latest district to sever police contracts in the wake of protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.”

MPS hasn’t actually had officers working inside schools regularly since 2016 when the school board foolishly pulled them out.

Between 2016 and 2022, it allowed and partially paid for officers to patrol the neighborhoods around some schools, to monitor dismissal periods and some school events, and to respond as quickly as possible when called.

No longer.

Since we barely have a local newspaper any longer, we don’t always know about all the stuff that’s happening — or, based on Lisheron’s numbers, even a fraction of it.  Here’s a link to just one shoot-out outside an MPS school that I wrote about recently.

It would be stunning if Milwaukee’s school board, apparently more concerned about social justice narratives than Milwaukee’s children, did anything about this. No sentient person who has watched the board dither for decades has any real expectation of that.

But that’s not to say someone, somewhere, can’t do something about this. The political leadership in Madison can give more money to schools that are part of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program and to independent charter schools as well.

This shouldn’t be about race. MPS, including the vast majority of all the good kids who want to learn and achieve,  is at least 50% Black and 90% minority. The good kids who are suffering and losing a shot at a better life, in other words, are not primarily white. Not that any of that should matter.

What matters is that they are suffering and no doubt living in fear because elected leaders care much less about them than staying in lockstep with the social justice warriors.

Mike Nichols is the president of the Badger Institute. Permission to reprint is granted as long as the author and Badger Institute are properly cited.