Ulster City Council approves contract for policeman for Miller Middle School – Daily Freeman

CITY OF ULSTER, NY – Members of City Council have unanimously approved a contract that will require the Kingston School District to pay $105,000 for a police officer to be assigned to Mr. Clifford Miller Middle School during of the 2022-2023 school year.

There were only minor changes to the deal, supervisor James Quigley said during a meeting last week.

“The agreement has been updated for the current year’s costs related to providing the services,” he said.

Officials noted that sentiment was mixed in the community regarding the resource officer program in schools during the day and after-school activities.

“I’m glad the SR program is still in place,” Councilman Eric Kitchen said. “There was a lot of opposition to that.”

In the agreement, officials wrote that the mission statement has been updated to reflect that the “primary purpose” is “to enhance the physical and emotional safety of all diverse students and staff (from district)”.

Some supporters of district school policing said the district had not gone far enough, and in June became confrontational with the school board in an effort to assign more police to schools. Currently, the program has police officers from the City of Ulster and the City of Kingston in both middle schools and high school, but none in elementary school.

Opponents point to incidents where minority students have had interactions that have escalated due to systemic police bias. At a district public hearing last week, some commenters said the funding could be used more effectively on programs that address supporting students for their behavioral needs.

The program was instituted in 2004 with officials seeking to develop contracts each year that stress that police are not allowed to take action involving warrants during school hours. They also tried to be clear that the police cannot enforce district policies.

“All discipline of students shall be solely under the auspices and jurisdiction of the school and district administration,” the officials wrote. “The principal or (their) delegate will be responsible for violations of the student code of conduct and routine disciplinary violations.”

The contract states that police intervention should only be used when “the misconduct rises to the level of criminal conduct which poses real and substantial harm or threat of harm to the physical or psychological well-being of students, school personnel or members of the community or … threat of harm to school property.

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