MILWAUKEE, Wis. – Milwaukee Public Schools is struggling to control students with its current race-based student discipline policies, so it’s offering unsolicited advice to parents to
MPS officials sent a letter home to parents last week as part of a new “See It, Say It” school safety campaign for 2017-18 that asks them to take special precautions to ensure students don’t bring guns or other weapons to class.
“Our intent is to prevent any weapons from coming into our schools. To achieve this, we are launching a new district-wide campaign called, See It, Say It,” the letter read. “Parents and students are key members of the See It, Say It campaign.”
The letter explains that all students are expected to report “anything that makes them feel unsafe,” and are tasked with identifying two school staff they trust to confide in, referred to as their “Trusted Two.”
It also asks parents to participate in the program in a variety of ways.
“Review the See It, Say It pledge with your child(ren) and return it to school,” the letter reads
“Review the school’s Code of Conduct with your child(ren) to make sure they understand the rules about weapons and refrain from purchasing BB guns or toy guns.”
The letter follows a flood of criticism – from students, parents, union officials, teachers and school staff – about a sharp rise in violence in Milwaukee classrooms tied to new school discipline policies promoted by the Obama administration.
Obama’s Department of Education pressured Milwaukee and numerous other urban school districts in recent years to address a “disparate impact” of school discipline policies that contribute to a “disproportionate” percentage of minority student suspensions. As a result, many districts including Milwaukee Public Schools have shifted to a “restorative justice” model for disciplining troublesome students that essentially replaces suspensions with talking circles, counseling sessions and other less severe punishments.
The situation has left students with the correct impression that they’re immune from real punishment, and contributed to widespread chaos in the classroom by ensuring dangerous students remain at school despite their bad behavior.
WIBA radio’s Vicki McKenna put the issue, and MPS’ recent letter to parents, into proper perspective:
Milwaukee Public Schools has some of the worst problems of any district in the country, yet instead of changing the policy, they decided that the REAL problem with safety lies in the hands of PARENTS with guns. You read that right. YOU, the gun-owning parent is why Milwaukee schools have safety issues. To SOLVE the problem of YOU, MPS is asking parents not to buy their kids toy guns and NOT to allow their kids near their OWN guns. The students of MPS also will be encouraged to report on each other in case some of the problem parents don’t get with the program.
The MPS letter acknowledges that “some parents are legal gun owners” but insists that “hiding a gun and teaching children about guns is not enough to keep children safe.”
It also goes on to offer “some suggestions from law enforcement” in case some parents don’t know any better than to leave their loaded guns lying around the house:
Purchase a locking safe or a gun lock to secure your weapons.
Store secured guns out of the reach of children.
Store guns and ammunition in separate locations.
Store the keys for the gun and ammunition in separate locations.