The St. Paul school board will meet next week to discuss the future of its contract with the city’s Police Department, following the recent death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.
“After George Floyd’s murder, many are questioning the role of the police in our city. We hear the voices of our students, families, staff and community members. We want to take those voices into consideration and make decisions that are in the very best interest of those we serve,” said Jeanelle Foster, the board’s vice chair.
The announcement follows a Tuesday vote by the Minneapolis school board to end its relationship with Minneapolis police because of Floyd’s death.
Any potential action on the contract would happen at the St. Paul school board’s June 23 meeting, according to the district. The district’s contract with the department for seven school resource officers is worth up to $775,000 and expires June 30.
The Minneapolis and St. Paul districts have long faced criticism over the use of school resource officers, with both seeking to transform the role from enforcer to mentor. In 2018-19, a Minneapolis Public Schools survey gave mostly positive marks to the officers, but the data also showed that school cops had more interactions with black students than their peers.
In December, the St. Paul school board unanimously approved a new contract for the seven school resource officers to work in high schools.
St. Paul Public Schools has taken steps to soften the role of resource officers by having them find ways to avoid arresting students. Past surveys of St. Paul students have found an overwhelming majority in support of police officers in their schools.