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Freedom Youth Squad celebrates the removal of police officers from Madison schools

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MADISON (WKOW) -- An organization leading the Black Lives Matter movement in Madison celebrates what it calls a major victory: removing police from Madison schools.

This week the Madison Metropolitan School Board voted to end its school resource officer (SRO) contract with the Madison Police Department. It was something Freedom, Inc. and its Freedom Youth Squad had been fighting years for, saying the presence of police in schools negatively impacted students of color and made them feel unsafe.

Police and supporters of SROs argued the officers had specific training that made them better suited to dealing issues that came up at schools.

The Freedom Youth Squad says there is still more work to make schools equitable, and it wants to see community control over school safety.

"So the youth, their families, our community can have decision-making power over what our schools look like," says Bianca Gomez, the Youth Justice Director for Freedom Inc. "And then we will know that we have safe and equitable schools for our young people."

The Freedom Youth Squad says it wants to see transformative justice instead of punishment and an accountability process for when staff call police on students.

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