Milwaukee High School of the Arts students hoping to see real change after Tuesday walkout

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Students who walked out of school Tuesday, Nov. 9 over what they call a dangerous learning environment, are continuing to talk with school officials about what they would like to see changed.

One of those things is the possibility of police returning to schools.

School board members said MPS hasn't had resource officers in schools since 2014.

Some students at Milwaukee High School of the Arts said bringing them back, in limited situations, could have benefits.

"We have to actually wait until something happens for us to get help," said walkout co-organizer Damien Blair.

Blair said police officers with the right background could help them feel safer.

"For my school specifically, do you have a background in the arts maybe," said Blair.

School Board President Bob Peterson said the community had voiced support for the removal of resource officers.

"Lessen the school-to-prison pipeline and not adjudicate and get kids involved in things if there's an incident that can be solved in schools," said Peterson.

"The pipeline between schools, predominately Black schools, and prisons, I could completely see why that could be an issue, but another thing that we have to understand is our safety," said Blair.

Petersen said the board is committed to starting a dialogue with students about their concerns.

Jamal Smith, Milwaukee Office of Violence Prevention Community Injury and Violence Prevention manager, said it's important that students be able to speak out.

"We have to take heed to that, there has to be a conversation to follow up and say okay, what does this look like," said Smith.

Blair said he wants to see real change.

"You can say we're going to do this, this, this, but we would like to see action behind that."

School board members also addressed student concerns over a lockdown at the school Monday.

They say it was related to police activity near the school, not anything going on inside the school.

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