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Madison school board member apologizes for concentration camp comments

UPDATE (WKOW) — Madison School Board member Ali Muldrow is apologizing for a Facebook post Saturday where she compared sending students to the Dane County Jail to Nazi concentration camps.

“I take full responsibility for the impact of my statement. I am deeply sorry for the harm it caused people I want nothing more than to be in solidarity with as we address the injustices of today,” Muldrow wrote in a statement to 27 News.. “I am grateful to the people who have challenged me to consider the many different perspectives of our community as a means of pursuing greater understanding in the interests of unity.”

Muldrow’s full statement:

The Holocaust is the greatest example of mass violence in modern history. There is no part of me that fails to recognize how seriously the suffering inflected by the Holocaust must be taken.

I take full responsibility for the impact of my statement. I am deeply sorry for the harm it caused people I want nothing more than to be in solidarity with as we address the injustices of today. I am grateful to the people who have challenged me to consider the many different perspectives of our community as a means of pursuing greater understanding in the interests of unity.

The conversation about juvenile incarceration and the disproportionate arrest of children with disabilities, LGBTQ+ youth, children living in poverty, and children of color at school, is a conversation I will continue to be committed to. My hope moving forward is that I will be able to apply the learning so many concerned and constructive community members have offered me to navigating this dialogue with utmost respect while striving for common ground. In Solidarity, Ali Muldrow.

Before Muldrow apologized, Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney said he was appalled by the language she used.

“I was beyond words when you compare the Dane County Jail to and or to a Nazi concentration camp,” said Mahoney. “I think making these reckless, inflammatory statements do not move us closer to finding solutions.”

Mahoney told 27 News he commented on Muldrows Facebook comments over the weekend and clarified he never deleted it. Other news outlets reported he removed his comments.

“I stand by everything I said and would have never posted anything if I didn’t stand by my words.”

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MADISON (WKOW) — A Madison school board member is receiving pushback from community leaders after a Facebook post compared Madison’s youth jail to concentration camps.

“We would not talk about the role of the Nazis and act as if the experiences people had in concentration camps is a separate issue,” Ali Muldrow wrote Saturday in a public Facebook post.

Muldrow was criticizing the role of police in sending students to the youth jail.

“… the students they arrest and ticket in our schools are disproportionately LGBTQ students, youth of color, impoverished youth and students with disabilities,” Muldrow wrote.

She also emphasized the unique powers that police have in the schools.

“Cops can be great mentors and community members sure but they are the only people who have the power to arrest students and they target children with certain identities for the most severe punishments available that is a problem we can not ignore or afford to invest in,” she wrote.

Muldrow’s post garnered hundreds of comments with some supporting her for highlighting the issue, while others took issue with her assertion that certain groups of students are being targeted.

Fellow school board member Ananda Mirilli supported Muldrow in a comment.

“Thanks for directly speaking to the issue of armed police in our schools. Thanks for speaking to the experiences of our students upon incarceration,” Mirilli wrote.

However other community leaders took aim at Muldrow’s comments.

Madison Police Chief Mike Koval, in a statement, criticized what he called Muldrow’s “defamatory rhetoric.”

“It is unfortunate at a time when agencies like MPD are bending over backwards to increase trust and to enter into meaningful dialogues that will advance collaboration and mutual respect, that a member of our school board would be inclined to use defamatory rhetoric to make a point,” Koval said. “Attributions and inferences born in hot button buzz words only create more barriers to our mutual goal of finding the best ways to educate our children.”

Middleton Police Chief Charles Foulke wrote in a comment that Muldrow is unfit for public office.

“What an outrageous statement by an elected official,” Foulke wrote. “To equate police in schools with Nazis and JRC and Dane County Jail to concentration camps trivializes the horrors experienced by people during the Nazi era and shows that Ms. Muldrow has a complete lack of knowledge of history and is unfit for public office. We can debate police in schools without comparing police to Nazis or JRC or DCJ to concentration camps. Shameful statement.”

A Change.org petition asking for Muldrow to step down had more than 90 signers as of Tuesday morning.

 

 

 

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