By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jun 18, 2020 at 10:15 PM

The Milwaukee Board of School Directors voted unanimously Thursday night to end its contracts with the Milwaukee Police Department in a three-hour meeting.

Afterward, Dakota Hall, the executive director of Leaders Igniting Transformation (LIT), which organized a rally on Wednesday to urge MPS to sever its ties with MPD, issued a statement, saying, "Tonight the Milwaukee Public School Board unanimously passed Resolution 2021R-003 which ends all contracts between the Milwaukee Police Department and Milwaukee Public Schools. Additionally this resolution ceases any contracts to buy or maintain criminalizing equipment including metal detectors, facial recognition software and social media monitoring software.

"Tonight’s vote is a victory by and for Black and Brown students. This resolution is the culmination of 2.5 years of work by LIT student leaders to defund police at MPS."

Thursday's vote means that MPS will no longer have MPD officers in middle and high schools as school resource officers.

The district is required by state law to employ four Milwaukee Police Department personnel to handle truancy abatement, but it plans to meet with attorneys to determine its handling that requirement.

The resolution was introduced by School Board Directors Paula Phillips and Sequanna Taylor.

"Students, the Milwaukee public and the Milwaukee School Board Members unanimously are more engaged than ever in reimagining our schools so Black and Brown students can thrive," said Hall. "The hard work starts now to truly transform our Milwaukee Public Schools. Creating safe schools must start with centering the voices and experiences of the young people, providing proper staffing levels for therapists, counselors, and other emotional and mental health support positions, and hiring educators of color who share similar life experiences to the students.

"This is not the end of our fight. We will continue to work to hold public institutions and systems accountable for their over policing and racist practices and procedures that have harmed BIPOC communities for centuries. The work does not stop tonight. It’s time we all take our activism for Black and Brown lives to the next level."

The Milwaukee Police Department also issued a statement Thursday, saying it continues to support MPS and its students.

"The Milwaukee Police Department fully supports the Milwaukee Public School system if it decides to remove all School Resource Officers from its schools," the statement said.

"We agree with the many voices from our community who believe that the funding should be reinvested into our public school system to support social services. Regardless of the vote, MPD will continue to support MPS and MPS students."

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.