Fight in Mankato school illustrates the need for school resource officers

Mankato became ground zero in the fight to get SROs back in schools last week as the police were called in to Mankato East High School to break up a fight between students that resulted in a brief lockdown of the school. The police had to be “called in” because the School Resource Officer (SRO) that would normally have been on site to prevent the fight was removed after the Minnesota legislature changed the rules for how SROs can operate.

As a community, Mankato supports their police. This was evident during American Experiment’s “Greater Mankato Backs Its Officers” event on September 5th that included a big crowd listening to a panel discussion with local law enforcement.

Those local law enforcement leaders joined others around the state in making the tough decision to remove SROs from Mankato schools after reviewing the new law. After the fight this week, Mankato Area Schools Superintendent Paul Peterson told the Mankato Free Press the incident “illustrates the value of and need for school resource officers, or SROs, in Mankato schools.”

After pressure mounted on Gov. Tim Walz to call a special session to fix the law so police chiefs and sheriffs could put SROs back in schools without fear of career-ending lawsuits, Walz announced late on Friday (when no one was watching) that he won’t call one. He believes guidance from Attorney General Keith Ellison on the matter is sufficient for SROs to operate in schools under the new rules (he’s also tied up with a trip to Japan this week and can’t be bothered with the mundane issue of school safety).

Anyone who believes Keith Ellison won’t be the first to prosecute a police officer for a restraint that goes wrong in a school hasn’t been paying attention. A memo from Ellison provides absolutely no comfort to anyone who wears a badge.

Walz received cover from his hometown editorial board at the Mankato Free Press as they wrote “Common sense, not special session needed on school officer issue.” The editorial board put their judgement ahead of local law enforcement writing that the Ellison memo gives them plenty of cover.

Losing SROs in schools is another casualty of the Off the Cliff 2023 legislative session where extreme Leftists (mostly in the House DFL caucus) set the agenda. This is not a drafting error. The leaders who wrote this language don’t trust the police and don’t want them in schools. The fact that the bill was only heard in education committees and not public safety committees was by design.

The people of Mankato trust and support local law enforcement.

The school superintendent trusts and supports local law enforcement.

Gov. Walz, Attorney General Ellison, DFL legislators and the Free Press editorial board don’t. It’s as simple as that.

Click here to register for a webinar on the school resource officer issue this Thursday September 14, 2023.