July 9, 2007
Madison Police Department Chief Noble Wray spoke on downtown safety at the monthly meeting of Downtown Madison, Inc. on June 28, 2007, and also briefly addressed the topic of gang activity in Madison schools during the program, as reported in The Capital Times (via the MadCrime101 blog, a welcome and valuable new resource focusing on concerns and issues relating to crime in Madison).
Chief Wray acknowledged the growing problem of gangs in Madison and their presence in Madison schools, and spoke of the need to quantify the extent of the problem and its trends, rather than reacting based on anecdotal “information”. I couldn’t agree more. The MPD can make much progress toward this goal by fuller and consistent disclosure to the public of incidents and statistics on gang activity (whether through its police district newsletters or its public information office news releases). But to quantify the gang problem in schools, the MPD will need to rely on data from the MMSD, since much can happen in a school which is relevant to quantifying the gang problem but isn’t brought to the attention of the MPD. Can the gang problem in Madison schools be accurately and reliably quantified and assessed for those schools that don’t have ERO’s (Education Resource Officers)? Of if the policies on when calls for service are to be made to MPD vary from school to school? Or when the MMSD relies on suspension and expulsion rates, instead of actual incidents of disruptive and violent behavior, to gauge school safety (all the while moving toward a policy of discouraging suspensions and expulsions)?
Madison City Channel 12’s video of the program is at this link: Downtown Madison, Inc. Presents: Madison Police Chief Noble Wray. The portion of the audience Q&A that addressed gang activity in schools is at 41:01 on the video clip, and a related earlier question regarding graffiti is at 38:55 on the video clip. For Mac users (the Mac user in our household informs me that the video doesn’t play on Macs), or for those who’d rather read than watch, a transcript is below the fold.
July 8, 2007
A bit of comic relief, from UK’s Comic Relief 2007, featuring Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130 and much inside baseball for Doctor Who fans (and, for that matter, parents of teenagers). Who knew that the sonic screwdriver would be the solution for disruptive classroom behavior?