‘They could have killed my son.’ Mom calling SROs to return after large fight at Mankato East High
A fight inside Mankato East High School last week Friday is re-igniting the debate over school resource officers in Minnesota. In a video taken in the hallways of the school building, school officials say about 10 students were involved in that brawl. One of the students assaulted was Nashawn William’s son.
“I was upset,” said Williams. “He had a blood clot in his right eye at the bottom and his upper torso was swollen…They could have killed my son stomping him on the floor, like you all saw the video, they could have killed my son.”
The fight comes after Supt. Paul Peterson told families in an email this month that “SROs will not be physically located at MAPS schools but will be available on an ‘on call’ basis to assist school staff.”
Scott Hare, Director of Student Support Services with Mankato Area Public Schools, said police were called in to break up the fight. He added that if an SRO had been in the building, the situation would have looked different.
“Having an officer on site, they’re right there. It’s very fast. It will take a couple of minutes for other officers to arrive through 911,” said Hare. “An SRO can read the situation and make the correct judgment call on the type of support that they would need to bring in.”
A new law prohibits SROs from placing a student in a face-down position and bans certain holds on the head, neck and across most of the torso. Besides Mankato, at least a dozen other law enforcement agencies have pulled their SROs across the state arguing the law would prevent them from doing their job.
“Once you take that presence out of the school, everybody feels like they can run around because they know the teachers can’t do anything,” said Williams.
Elizabeth Hanke is a parent within the school district and believes the state is overreaching by getting involved with placing policies at schools.
“We need more local government and community involvement. We need to give authority and agency back to our teachers and police officers, and still be able to hold them accountable for when they’re not doing their jobs effectively,” said Hanke.
Last month, Attorney General Keith Ellison said what’s written in the law is clear, however, Governor Tim Walz’s office tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS Walz remains open to a special session addressing this matter.