More School Districts Revise the Roles of Police on Their Campuses
Here’s an update on the school policing changes being made by five different districts.
School districts across the nation are revising the roles police officers will be playing on campus for the 2021-2022 academic year. Some are changing the roles of officers, while others are either increasing officer presence or eliminating police presence altogether.
In Novato, California, police officers will still be available to district schools, but how they are funded, their uniforms and more will change. A grant that had paid for two school resource officers (SROs) has expired, and the city has agreed to pay for one officer… and possibly two, reports the Marin Independent Journal.
Additionally, the Novato Community Equity Group, which is being set up to oversee how SROs work in schools, is looking to limit officer interventions only to situations involving guns and violence, not mental health checks or parking violations. Also, SROs will be wearing more casual uniforms.
Meanwhile, in San Jose, California, the San Jose Unified School District Board of Education voted 3 to 2 on Thursday night to reject an agreement with the City of San Jose, which ends their relationship. This means the district will not have police officers on campus starting in the fall, reports ABC7. The district is in the process of reworking their school safety plans.
In Southern California, the Pomona Unified School District will no longer have dedicated police officers on its campuses, reports the Daily Bulletin. The decision was prompted by concerns from parents and students who want more mental health resources. Calls for social justice also played a role in the decision. A recent report found that there were racial disparities in arrests in the city of Pomona.
In Knoxville, Tennessee, the city, mayor and school district superintendent agreed to a newly proposed Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the city and the schools, reports WVLT. Although much of the MOA remains the same as the previous version, it does prohibit school-based police officers from intervening in incidents involving special needs students, unless there is imminent threat of loss of life or serious injury. Additionally, officers can receive training on cultural competency and de-escalation.
In Tallahassee, Florida, Leon County Schools (LCS) has approved $2.4 million in school safety contracts, according to Tallahassee Reports. The Board on Tuesday approved the 2021-2022 School Resource Deputy Program Agreement with the Leon County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO). It will have a fiscal impact of more than $1.5 million. LSCO will provide 25 SROs to the district.
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