‘Defund Police’ poster hanging in New Haven school window sparks controversy in the community

New Haven

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Seen in the window of Elm City Montessori School, a school for grades pre-K through eighth grade, are colorful posters drawn by young kids.

The phrase “Defund Police” can be seen from Valley Road.

It is not sitting well with some people as crime in the city increases.

“That is not the type of message that I want being promoted at an elementary school,” said Brian Mullen, a Branford resident.

Mullen says he first heard about the poster when a friend sent him a photo of the posters hanging in the window.

“The person who sent that to me, like I said, he’s a 20-year New Haven police officer that was just upset that that message is in the neighborhood that he patrols.”

Also among the posters were messages including “Black Lives Matter” and “Let Me Breathe.”

News 8 spoke to a woman near the school who did not want to show her face. She said she feels kids should be exposed to what’s going on in the world.

“I think just making the kids aware of what’s going on and I think they already are aware and they’re coming to school talking about it and then making it a school discussion,” she said.

News 8 then asked her about the poster.

“I don’t think some police deserve as much as they make but not all police should be defunded. But you’re guilty by association, so that’s just how that goes,” she said.

New Haven Public Schools Spokesman Justin Harmon said the following to News 8:

“These were children’s signs made for a student protest. They do not represent the views of the district.”

New Haven Police Chief Renee Dominguez sent News 8 a statement, saying the department is in the process of hiring more officers on the force, adding the following:

“The men and women of the New Haven Police Department are committed to our community policing philosophy and continue to work hard building relationships with the community.”

“If you want to take a sign like that, put it in the hallway, put it onto the lockers, that’s fine. Don’t highlight it to the community, highlight it to every single student that walks into the building because number one, they don’t understand. Number two, with the crime rate in New Haven right now, I mean with the press conference the mayor just did, violence in New Haven is an issue,” Mullen said.

News 8 reached out to the mayor’s office about these posters and is waiting to hear back. Harmon says the signs will not be censored.

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