Racism in Local Schools

The Janesville Gazette had an excellent piece of reporting highlighting the disparity in school-related, youth police interactions. The discrepancy breaks down as such: 445 in 1,000 black kids in the Janesville School District have some sort of police interaction. The average for other races is 58 in 1,000.

Enter Janesville School District superintendent Steve Pophal who throughout the course of the story, start to finish, painted himself not only as insensitive, but wholly and utterly inept in dealing with racism, a problem Rock County is currently considering as a public health emergency.

When informed of the discrepancy, Pophal was not surprised. Later in the interview, Pophal declares himself and Janesville Police Chief Dave Moore as "problem solvers". So, let us put two and two together. Pophal was "not surprised" in the discrepancy but he is a problem solver, ergo a discrepancy this egregious is not a problem to Steve Pophal.

Pophal went on to make sure it is known that the school resource officers in his schools actually deescalate many cases but conveniently for Pophal, those numbers can't be quantified. Yes, Pophal cited data that can not be quantified while ignoring actual quantified data to make his argument. From Pophal himself, "But I can tell you the number of those that happen is exponentially larger than the list that you have from interventions after there’s been a problem." I, for one, am shocked that the Gazette reporters did not immediately shut down the story. There's no story here, everyone. Mr. Pophal, the man who is not surprised at massive racial discrepancies in his own district, can assure us that SRO's are good. No further research needed.

A final quote from Pophal, “Chief Moore and I and his team and our team—and we’re one team—are continuously trying to err on the side of solving problems, preventing problems and serving the community rather than just making it about accountability and arrests and citations and locking people up.” Simple rebuttle: Our state jails are disproportionately filled with black inmates. Our local jails are disproportionately filled with black inmates. And thanks to the Gazette's piece, we know our black youth are being disproportionately targeted by local schools. This Gazette piece also helped to answer why those things are true: because people like Steve Pophal are in charge.

Full story here.

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