By Corinne Murdock |
Tensions escalated during the Chandler Unified School District (CUSD) regular meeting on Wednesday over discussions of funding school resource officers (SROs).
Governing Board member Lindsay Love exhibited signs of a meltdown after fellow board member Joel Wirth expressed discomfort over her opposition to SROs. Love wanted the board to present more metrics and plans to the public for SROs before adding more of them on campuses. She cited the recent mass shootings in schools, namely Uvalde, Texas, to bolster her point for additional meetings on the subject.
“I don’t necessarily feel comfortable with cops on campus, right? I’m that person who doesn’t necessarily feel comfortable with cops around kids, right? But no matter how you feel about that, I think that there needs to be some transparency and I think that people need to know what the plan is,” said Love.
Wirth responded that he was uncomfortable with Love’s opposition to SROs. He saw the issue behind the Uvalde tragedy differently, arguing that more armed officers on campus would prevent similar tragedies from befalling CUSD. Wirth said that no SROs at all was not the right choice.
“Considering what’s going on in the world, that seems like the worst decision we can make — ” began Wirth.
At that point, Love interrupted Wirth to argue that there were CUSD members who didn’t want SROs. She claimed that SROs impacted certain categories of students to a greater negative degree than others. Love didn’t elaborate on what motives could drive that claimed impact.
“You may be comfortable with cops on campus but there are parents in this audience and students in this audience who may not, right? Because what we know is that we have cops on campus and they disproportionately impact BIPOC students and SPED students,” said Love. “I will not be silenced about this. We just had parents and students get up and address this. So you not feeling comfortable does not negate people in this audience and in our community who do not feel comfortable.”
Board President Barb Mozdzen instructed Love to give Wirth the floor to speak. Love interrupted Mozdzen instead.
“You know what Barb, I interrupted because I overheard him say over there, ‘Let somebody else speak,’ and I let everybody on this board speak,” said Love.
When Wirth tried to respond, Love shouted him down.
“No, I’m not letting you speak. I’m not letting you speak. I polled this myself, I had questions and I won’t be silenced,” said Love. “You can speak but I will not sit up here for a lecture.”
Mozdzen intervened to inform Love that she was out of order for breaking away from the agenda. Love refused to allow Mozdzen to continue speaking. Love asserted that if she was out of line, then Wirth was out of line for “lecturing” her in his response.
At that point, Mozdzen repeated to Love that Wirth was going to speak and that Love should remain silent.
Wirth concluded by reiterating his belief that SROs were necessary for school safety.
“My point is, I believe it’s important to have officers on the campus based on what’s going on in the world right now. That’s all I have to say,” said Wirth.
In a later post on Twitter, Love insisted that police intimidated minority and LGBTQ+ students.
Love, a controversial member, decided last November that she wouldn’t seek reelection.