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Proposed Wisconsin bill would allow students to learn how to interact with police with 'cooperation and respect'

Posted at 10:25 PM, Jan 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-13 17:46:03-05

MILWAUKEE — It's an important conversation to have with your child. What should they do if they ever have to interact with the police? It's a discussion that some Wisconsin lawmakers think also needs to be had in the classroom.

"I think it's important for our citizens, our kids, to know what does a police officer expect me to do if I'm stopped or if I'm approached," said Representative Dave Murphy (R) Greenfield.

Proposed bill would allow Wisconsin students to learn how to interact with police
Proposed bill would allow Wisconsin students to learn how to interact with police

Republican Representative Dave Murphy is one of the authors of Assembly Bill 830. A bill that, if passed, would require the state superintendent of public instruction to develop a model curriculum that would be taught to students between 5th and 12th grade on how to interact with law enforcement with "mutual cooperation and respect".

"The more that our kids know about what the police expect from them I think the more likely they are to act appropriately and to not get into a situation where there's a problem. If you're comfortable, the police officers comfortable, there's much less opportunity for something to go wrong," said Representative Murphy.

Proposed bill would allow Wisconsin students to learn how to interact with police
Proposed bill would allow Wisconsin students to learn how to interact with police

Murphy says the curriculum won't have to be adopted by the school districts, and that the school boards will have to vote to opt-out of it. Meanwhile, Milwaukee Representative LaKeisha Myers says she has some major concerns regarding the legislation.

"You cannot ignore race when you have these conversations. In our community, you can be as compliant as ever and still not make it home safely," said Representative Myers (D) Milwaukee.

Myers, who sits on the education committee, says along with feeling like the bill is a political move as campaign season approaches, feels the outcome of police interactions shouldn't rest solely on the people.

Proposed bill would allow Wisconsin students to learn how to interact with police
Proposed bill would allow Wisconsin students to learn how to interact with police

"We do a lot in this body with talking about how the public should respond when engaging with police, but the onus and understanding is not shared when it comes to trying to regulate poor police behavior. I'm not going to say it's all wrong, but I do have my concerns with it, its timing, and how it will be implemented," said Representative Myers.

A second reading of the legislation will be heard in the education committee next week during an executive session where it then will be voted on by committee members.

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