Gun Incidents Prompt Olympia Schools to Bring Back SROs

Published: September 19, 2023

Olympia, WashingtonSchool resource officers (SROs) will once again be patrolling Olympia school campuses. The decision to bring back SROs was made last week by board members with the Olympia School District after Capital High School experienced two gun scares in only four days.

In the first week of the 2023-2024 school year, two students were arrested at Capital High for bringing guns on campus, reports The Olympian. A 17-year-old was arrested after a BB gun in the style of a handgun was found in a toilet. Additionally, a 15-year-old student was arrested the first day of school for bringing a loaded handgun on campus. Both students were expelled.

In response to both incidents, the school board held an emergency meeting last week. After hours of deliberation, the board decided to reinstate the SROs, reports King5.

Superintendent Patrick Murphy and School Board President Darcy Huffman supported the reinstatement, saying their district’s administrators and counseling teams aren’t equipped to handle the increasing number of situations happening on school campuses.

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The district has been without SROs since 2020, reports Fox13Seattle.

Murphy said the Olympia Police Department (OPD) is working to have police officers on campus in the next few weeks before the SRO program gets up to speed. Like other law enforcement agencies, OPD is experiencing staffing challenges, but its leaders said the department should be able to provide the SROs.

Thurston County Sheriff Derek Sanders said the SROs go through 40 hours of additional training covering case law and search and seizure on K-12 campuses.

The reinstatement of SROs received a mixed reaction from students, parents and the public, with several speaking out against the new policy.

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