Schools Beefing Up Funding for Campus Police, Security Officers
Despite a nationwide movement to minimize police and security personnel on campus, some schools are hiring even more officers.
Many schools around the country have been ending police contracts and removing officers. Other districts are defunding contracts and changing how they work with local law enforcement. Some schools, however, are doing quite the opposite, investing significantly in hiring additional police and security officers for a bigger on-campus public safety force.
Recently, the school boards of three districts approved to keep, increase and provide additional funding for on-campus police, despite concerns voiced by teachers and community members. In all three cases, those objecting greater on-campus police presence say the funds should be applied to different programs.
At Fresno Unified school district, for example, students, parents and community members urged the school board to cut $3.2 million in funding for armed campus cops, reports The Fresno Bee. They want that money utilized instead for social-emotional services and student resources, such as laptops and after-school programs. Their request fell on deaf ears, however, as the board voted unanimously to approve contracts with the Fresno Police Department.
The new deal will provide better data and information gathering on student interactions with police.
Meanwhile at Taft High School in Chicago, the Block Club/Chicago reports that the school board voted 8-3 to keep its four on campus police officers and hire an additional social worker and security officer.
Again, the majority of teachers voiced that they’d rather have two of the four police officers be removed to free up the money for alternative safety practices and counselors. Principal Mark Grishaber assured teachers after the school board vote that the objective of the approved Whole School Safety Plan is to create opportunities for positive interaction between the police and students.
Also setting the bar high in terms of on-campus public safety funding is Hamilton County Schools in Tennessee. WRCB TV reports that the board approved the recruitment and hiring of up to 25 school security officers, as long as the county commission provides additional funds. The move has received the blessing of the Hamilton County mayor, who wants to use $621,000 to hire the officers.