Wisconsin Assembly to vote on mandating school officers

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Assembly is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a Republican-backed measure that would require schools with a high number of crimes to hire police officers to be located in school buildings.

Under the bill, if a school has more than 100 incidents in a semester, and at least 25 of those result in an arrest, the school must hire an armed school resource officer to work at the school.

The cost of hiring the officer would be partially reimbursed by the state using federal COVID-19 relief money. The state education department said it could not calculate how many schools may qualify.

The measure comes after the state’s two largest districts in Milwaukee and Madison voted in 2020 to remove school resource officers.

The only registered supporter of the measure was the Milwaukee Police Association. Opponents included Milwaukee Public Schools, Disability Rights Wisconsin and the Wisconsin School Social Workers Association. The Wisconsin Association of School Boards also raised concerns.

Another bill up for a vote Tuesday would require schools to collect and report information about crimes on school grounds. The GOP-controlled Legislature passed that measure last session, but Democratic Gov. Tony Evers vetoed it.

Once approved by the Assembly, both bills would have to pass the Senate before heading to Evers this session.