A suburban Chicago high school dumped its resource officer after receiving complaints about her "divisive" public defense of police and the Thin Blue Line symbol — and the chief of the Mount Prospect, Illinois, police department is concerned about the power a few people can wield over one woman's career, Fox News reported.
What's the background?
Officer Lisa Schaps — who has served the department for almost 15 years and was the school resource officer at Prospect High School — addressed the village board June 15 regarding concerns about local officers' Thin Blue Line shoulder patch, according to Journal & Topics, an outlet that covers Chicago's northwest suburbs.
Schaps said the Thin Blue Line — which many on the left say carries racist meanings — "was never about hate. It was never about oppression," the outlet said.
"We are good people. We are here to serve and protect, and I think that if you judge us on the actions of a few bad officers or groups that have taken our flag and used that, it is no different than judging somebody on the color of their skin on their religion or on their sexual preferences," she added, according to Journal & Topics.
"The way that we have seen people of color be treated by police officers, if you think that that doesn't enrage us and anger us, then you are wrong," Schaps also said, according to the outlet. "Because the men and women here in Mount Prospect do not treat our citizens that way."
First Fox News appearance
Then Schaps appeared on "Fox & Friends" last week to make her case to a national audience about the Thin Blue Line shoulder patch.
"It's about honor. It's about pride. It's about kinship," she said during last Tuesday's segment. "You know, I even said 'love.' I've got children. I've got family … it's all of those things, and it's just really important to us."
Well, things apparently came to a head for the school — and Schaps literally was called to the principal's office for a meeting, according to Mount Prospect Police Chief John Koziol, who told Fox News Thursday that he attended the meeting with Schaps.
Koziol told the cable news network they both were "floored" that the principal said the school decided it wanted a new resource officer.
"We sat down with him, and he explained he and the district had received complaints and probably from these same people that have an objection to our patch, and I was giving him ideas on how to handle those calls; send them to the police department or the village," Koziol recalled to Fox News. "It really wasn't their fight to fight."
But it was too late, as Koziol told the cable news network that the principal said, "We're past all that; we want a new SRO. We want Lisa gone."
And the problem was?
So, what did Schaps do that was so bad?
"They had mentioned that I compared being a police officer to being black when I really didn't say that," she explained to Fox News. "I said, 'Please don't judge us like you would judge somebody on the color of their skin or their religion or their sexual preference.' It was really about the judgment, and they just said that that was inappropriate."
What did the school district have to say?
Dave Berry, interim communications supervisor of Township High School District 214, told the cable news network that "we did recommend the consideration of having a different officer assigned to this school in order for our focus to remain on our students."
Berry added to Fox News that "the school does not have the authority to fire or dismiss a school resource officer, so any assertion that the school terminated the school resource officer is not correct or accurate."
Too much power in the hands of a few
Koziol told the cable news network a "small group" of complainers "somehow got this much power to affect someone's career, someone's livelihood" — which he said concerns him, just as the attitude of the principal who Koziol said "really believed in what he was doing" in reference to wanting Schaps gone.
But while the chief stressed to Fox News that Schaps will stay employed by the department, he added that being a school resource officer "has been a passion for Lisa."
"It's been a job she's always wanted," Koziol also told the cable news network. "I know how much she does for those kids. If the wolf ever came to the door at that school, she is the momma bear you wanted there."
He added that her removal from the position has "been devastating for her."
"Here is a very strong, confident woman, which we want in all our police officers," Koziol also noted, "and I saw her devastated in that meeting,"
(H/T: The Police Tribune)