Walz in a bind over SRO special session

Gov. Tim Walz is in a bind over calls for a special session to fix a new law that is forcing police chiefs and sheriffs to pull School Resource Officers (SROs) out of local schools. On the one hand, opposition is growing among the public and law enforcement to change the law so SROs can use their training and authority in public schools to keep students and teachers safe. On the other hand, liberals in his own party are signaling they are not interested in changing the law.

In fact, some are using the current debate to question whether police officers should be in schools in the first place. After the death of George Floyd and the riots that followed, schools in Minneapolis and St. Paul loudly announced their decisions to end SRO contracts with the police. That decision came back to haunt parents and students at Harding High School in St. Paul last February as a 15-year-old student was stabbed to death in the hallway by another student. Police officers at Harding were replaced with unarmed “school support liaisons.” After the stabbing, school officials invited St. Paul police officers back to school, but asked them to stay just outside the front door.

Gov. Walz had already put this incident out of his mind a few months later when he declared in his State of the State speech that, “Here in Minnesota, when we talk about freedom, we talk about our children being free to go to school without being worried about being shot dead in their schools.” How about stabbed to death?

As the controversy over SROs in schools heated up recently, several prominent DFL allies of the Governor voiced their support for the new restrictions on the use of force.

Labor leader and Walz ally Javier Morillo got things started by claiming police officers were “super excited about choking children.” Of course this is a gross misrepresentation of the problem “cops” have with the new language on use of force.

State Representative Leigh Finke chimed in with the defund the police argument questioning whether police officers should be allowed in schools at all.

State Senator Erin Maye Quade produced a Tik Tok video where she argued the police just don’t want to be held to a different standard regarding use of force when they are in a school setting. Of course they don’t! Police need to quickly react to dangerous situations based on their training. They can’t be expected to stop and ponder which use of force standard applies while two 18-year-old students are brawling in the lunchroom.

@erinmayequade MN police are pulling school resource officers from some schools over a new Minnesota law that they say is “vague”. It’s not. Let me show you. #minnesota #politics #school ♬ original sound – Erin Maye Quade

Sen. Maye Quade also believes we should just take the word of the “literal” chief law enforcement officer of our state, Keith Ellison, who put out a statement saying use of force is ok as long as the officer believes it will prevent bodily harm or death. Of course Attorney General Ellison will be the first one prosecuting a School Resource Officer if he questions their judgment in a use of force incident. The police chiefs pulling back their SROs understand this better than anyone.

Another Walz ally, former House Public Safety Committee Chair Carlos Mariani furthered the false narrative about police choking students with his tweet this morning. The Left is really good at distributing and using the talking points of the day, in this case framing the issue around choking restraints.

Before calling a special session, Gov. Walz will have to meet with liberals in his own party to determine if the votes are there to fix this law. At this point, it appears they are not. In the meantime, the pressure will continue mounting as more and more SROs are removed from local schools.

Speaking of pressure, to add your support for a special session to safely get SROs back in schools, use the form below to send Gov. Walz an email.