Members asked how students feel about police officers in schools.
Frederick, Md (KM) The Frederick County Board of Education was briefed Wednesday on the School Resource Officer program. Some board members wanted to know if surveys of students have been done on their attitudes about police officers in their schools.
“Perhaps law enforcement officers in buildings they certainly have done some tremendous things and they’re good partners for the school system,” said Board of Ed member Liz Barrett. “But they may not make all students safe. And there may be work that we need to do with our racial equity committee. Those are hard conversations and direct conversations that we need to have.”
Another Board member who brought up that issue was Karen Yoho. “I know there is a lot going on and this may not be the exact time. But I think it’s something we may need to think about with everything going on in the world. It does seem that the data, hard data–as much as you can get hard data from a survey–that might be helpful and understanding about the students’ perception,” she said.
The School Resource Officers are placed in schools to provide security, and bond with students by becoming mentors and role models. It can make students more comfortable about approaching police officers with their concerns.
Scott Blundell, Supervisor of Security and Emergency Management for the Public School System, says there’s been a lot of positive feedback from students regarding school resource officers. “I’ve heard from administrators in the building, from students themselves. I can say from being a former SRO myself, having a positive relationships with the students on a day-to-day basis, just interacting with them,” he says.
The Board of Education Student Representative, Mia Martinez, says she’s heard positive comments from students about the officers stationed at her school, Brunswick High. “I’ve seen a lot of students from that relationship, and the ones that do, they are very close,” she said.
Superintendent Dr. Theresa Alban said students are surveyed on a number of issues, but she’s not aware of any of them being asked about School Resource Officers. “Until we get back to school in some form or another, we would need to wait to do that with our students,” she said. “If that’s something that the Board really feels is a data point that you want or you need, we would have to work in collaboration with you to find out exactly what you want.”
The Maryland Safe to Learn Act requires public schools around the state to provide adequate law enforcement coverage for all schools.
By Kevin McManus