MILWAUKEE — Parents expressed their concerns about safety and communication at Rufus King High School in a town hall meeting Monday night.
Last week, a shooting outside the school sent five people to the hospital while a basketball game was going on inside. Four teenage girls and one young woman are expected to be okay. Police say a 34-year-old suspect has turned himself in.
Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) Superintendent Dr. Keith Posley, MPS School Board Vice Chair Sequanna Taylor and other officials listened to parents during the virtual meeting Monday night.
"Who is directly responsible for communication in situations like this?" one parent asked.
"We received information on the next day at 10 a.m.," another parent said.
"Someone shared with me that support services were called for our students," said parent Sharlen Moore. "Nothing was communicated about that."
Dr. Posley stressed there are some details he doesn't know and cannot share, because it is a police investigation.
"What we were doing is working to get clear, concise information to be able to transfer to our community," Dr. Posley said. "And I'm the first to say that I take full responsibility, full responsibility, around that particular piece."
Dr. Posley also discussed how event staff is trained and how all tickets must be bought in advance and scanned.
"Can we keep people inside of the gymnasium until they are picked up as well so that no one is standing outside?" Posley suggested. "That is something that we're working on."
SEE PREVIOUS COVERAGE:
- Fight over social media post leads to shooting near school, 5 injured
- Milwaukee man turns himself in following quintuple shooting near Rufus King High School
- Rufus King High School students walk out of class, protesting gun violence
One parent questioned whether it's time to reconsider a police presence in schools.
Vice Chair Taylor said she is open to other solutions. She clarified she was not speaking on behalf of the board when she shared her opinion.
"I do not want us to feel like the police should be our first line of solution when we talk about our babies, our students, our families and our community," Taylor said. "I do believe we all can come together and think about strategies, but I don't think that should be our one-and-done all."
Taylor said she hopes to have a follow-up meeting sometime in the future.
When TMJ4 reached out to MPS on Tuesday morning, they released this statement:
“MPS is open to exploring all options to ensure the safety and well-being of our students, student-athletes, spectators, and staff.
The district already has steps in place, which include ticket presales, scanning spectators upon entry, and event staff trained in security protocol.
In regard to last Tuesday, event staff and security went through proper steps to make sure no one inside our school building was hurt and that the game was able to be played to its conclusion. We were also able to help see to it that everyone in attendance was able to leave the building safely.
We will continue to work with school leaders to make sure we are effectively communicating with students and families.”