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RRE met on Tuesday, January 12 for its usual weekly meeting. RRE member Connie van Eeghen led us on a discussion of group norms using Jamboard. Each person was invited to share one or two thoughts about what our group norms are or should be. Once each person had provided their input, Connie led a group exercise where we grouped the norms together into core concepts. It was a fun way to explore how we all look at the group and what we see it as and want it to be.
Richmond Racial Equity, assisted by Migrant Justice and allied attorneys, gave a presentation to the Richmond Selectboard at their regular meeting on Monday, January 4, 2020 on the need for a modified Fair and Impartial Policing policy that would forbid Richmond police from cooperating directly with federal agencies regarding the immigration status of migrants and others. The Selectboard listened receptively and indicated that they would all be willing to vote ‘yea’ on a resolution adopting the new policy, but stopped short of agreeing to mandate it.
The Selectboard has heard from the town’s attorney as well as from the Vermont League of Cities and Towns that they do not have the legal authority to mandate such a policy; the ACLU and other attorneys that RRE members have spoken with feel otherwise. Kyle Kapitanski, the acting Chief of Police for Richmond, was at the meeting and stated that he would put the policy in place once the Selectboard passes the resolution. Asked if that was not good enough, RRE representatives expressed concern that future police chiefs might elect to go in a different direction and without the force of a town ordinance, there would be nothing legally that we could do to stop them.
All parties agreed that the best outcome would be for this to be settled at a state level, with the state giving clear permission to towns to adopt such policies and/or mandating the policy at a statewide level. Jana Brown, our incoming state representative, was at the meeting and indicated that it would be discussed during the upcoming session.
The next step is for the Selectboard to draft a resolution to adopt at the next meeting — the actual resolution may wind up being fairly short, but the “whereas”es that would lay out the reason and justification for the policy might be rather lengthy, and will need to be hashed out. Every indication is that the Selectboard will adopt the resolution supporting the revised Fair and Impartial Policing policy at its January 18 meeting and we thank them for their support and for the time and effort they’ve put into this issue.
Members of Richmond Racial Equity, assisted by representatives from Migrant Justice, will be presenting to the Selectboard and to interested citizens of Richmond on the proposed Fair and Impartial Policing policy at the January 4, 2021 meeting of the Richmond Selectboard.
The meeting will be conducted via Zoom, starting at 7 pm.
The Fair and Impartial Policing presentation will take about 45 minutes and is the third item on the agenda after public comment and discussions of how Town Meeting 2021 will be conducted.
Numerous documents relating to the FIPP are available on the Selectboard documents page for this meeting — look for the words “Start FIPP Documents” and “End FIPP Documents”. Everything between there is relevant information.
Join Zoom Meeting Online: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82888163003?pwd=cnp5cHowQXA5Tk5yYjRBK3h0SXpFdz09
Join by Phone:+1 929 205 6099
Meeting ID:828 8816 3003
We wanted to share news of an upcoming event at the Bolton-Richmond-Huntington Community Senior Center:
“Join Us for This Special On-Line Presentation:
A Different Approach to Crime and Justice in Rwanda – and Vermont
On Wednesday, December 16 at 1:30 PM, we host Norwich University professor Rowley Brucken for his on-line presentation on Restorative Justice, an approach that gives victims a chance to communicate with offenders, explain the full impact of their crimes, and provide ways the offender can help repair the damage and make appropriate amends.
Brucken is a recognized expert in this field. He describes examples in Vermont where communities have established reparative boards and mediation initiatives that embody restorative justice principles. On a more dramatic level, he also relates how Argentina and Rwanda have applied its principles to bring justice and healing to local communities in the wake of genocide and other crimes against humanity.
Professor Brucken has over 20 years of experience in restorative justice from international to local levels. He is Amnesty International USA’s Zimbabwe Specialist, has served on reparative panels, and chaired the Citizen Advisory Board of the Montpelier Community Justice Center. He is also an avid runner with 60 marathons and 25 ultra-marathons of 50 and 100 miles to his credit.
Google meet connection meet.google.com/doq-qond-nhm
Sponsored by the Bolton-Richmond-Huntington Community Senior Center”
Hi Christine and all, Among our other many key topics for follow up this week, could we talk about the Richmond Selectboard vacancy to be filled through the Town’s voting process this March? Connie
For community members planning to attend the MMUUSD Board meeting tonight, here is a link to the agenda, which also includes the Google meeting link to attend. Connie
Stefani and I have been engaged in an email conversation with Check Lacy, a MMUUSD Board Member and Finance Committee Member. My impression is that Board Members are paying attention to and learning from local and broader information related to School Resource Officers.
I let him know that I would be sharing our recent conversation, as Stephani has done in the past. Here is the most recent message, which I think will help those who go to the MMUUSD Budget meeting tonight, December 14, 2020:
Sent: Monday, December 14, 2020 1:25 AM
Cc: Chuck Lacy <email@example.com>; Stefani Hartsfield <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: MMUUUSD Finance Committee conversation about School Resource Officer (SRO) budgeted expense for next year
“I now understand we need a job description and required qualifications for any SRO work. This is a more specialized role than I had imagined. I started with the assumption that this is simply a cop in the school. I was wrong. Students sometimes face issues I could not have imagined – custody issues with the potential of violence, children dealing with violent homes, and the like. I’ve learned the current SRO is available to BRMS. A teacher there described the comfort of having a known SRO on the scene during a school lockdown with a parent raging over a custody dispute and scaring everyone to the bone. A specialized SRO on the team with social work, administration, nursing, etc is a conceivable benefit to me. If the school nurse uncovers an abuse situation requiring intervention – an SRO who is a known trusted colleague could be helpful, ideally someone with relevant training. But I’m still learning.
“If there is an SRO, the job description and qualifications and maybe an annual report should be public and explained to everybody in the building. I’d be interested in how a job redesign could mitigate the negative impact on some children of having an officer in the school. Everybody should certainly know why there is a cop in the school and what they are doing. We don’t have that now and that might address some particle of the problem.
“I want to get the issue out of the finance committee and into the board as a whole. I don’t think the finance committee members see this as a budget question (it isn’t) and the entire board should be involved (they aren’t). If there is ever a problem which could be attributed to either having or not having an SRO, the board should have accepted the responsibility for the decision and the outcome.
“In the main, I hope people don’t view this as a local metaphor for the national debate. This is our own circumstance.
“I work in an out of state city that has cops relevant to the national debate. I know what that looks like.
“Everything here is my opinion only. I’m not speaking for the board. chuck”
We’re sharing a link to another site’s information, but it’s useful information, so humor us.
The Richmond Free Library maintains a list of fiction and non-fiction books, audiobooks, and DVDs on Black history and topics.
Click here or click the image below to go to the RFL website.
Several SRO contracts are up at the end of this school year and so it is a hot topic regarding budget planning.
Here are the links for local meetings this week.
RRE is also hosting a meeting Tuesday night, 6:30pm to discuss action for the MMUSD meeting. Zoom link in calendar.
Zoom meeting info
Center of Vermont, Rights and Democracy, Vermont Branches of the NAACP, Vermont
Businesses for Social Responsibility, Vermont Center for Independent Living, Vermonters for
Criminal Justice Reform, Vermont Human Rights Commission, Vermont Legal Aid, Vermont
Public Interest Research Group, and the Women’s Justice and Freedom Initiative. I wrote out all
of those names because it’s amazing to me that so many Vermonters (ie. school boards) seem
to be ignoring such a unified voice from the communities and identities who are most impacted
by this issue.