To the Editor:
I am writing this letter as a show of my support for the Hopkins School District, School Board and for the students of Hopkins secondary schools. At the Sept. 1 meeting, the School Board made the difficult decision to move forward with ending their contract with Minnetonka Police Department. I watched that night feeling inspired by the young adults not only bravely speaking their truths and experiences, but also presenting evidence that supports the difficult decision to terminate the school resource officer contract. Additionally, it is not hard to find many evidenced-based articles and proposals explaining why having the police department in our schools is not best practice. Just because something in education has been done before, it doesn’t mean that we must continue forward with the status quo, especially when we know better.
A personal mantra of mine since the murder of George Floyd is “when we know better, we do better.” This immensely hard season in life has provided us an opportunity to know better and to do better. It’s time for Minnesota to show up for our Black and Indigenous and people of color neighbors. Removing school resource officers from our public schools, as Intermediate District 287 has successfully implemented for four years, is not an easy decision to make. We can take a look at any social media platform and see clearly that people have strong opinions on all sides of the matter.
How many times must we hear from our neighbors about their experiences with our public institutions, but then ignore their lived experiences and take no action? How many times must we read about children and adults dying at the hands of our systems in order for us to make actual change?
This change can feel scary. It has become “normal” to have armed police officers in schools. But, are the pros outweighing the cons? Evidence shows, and our Black and Indigenous and people of color neighbors have told us time after time, that this is not the case.
We can and must do better for our students.