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Letter: Remove School Resource Officers

Letter: Remove School Resource Officers

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We all know how important it is that our public schools offer a safe, comfortable space for kids to develop social and mental skills among their peers. They need this time away from home to grow and learn surrounded by positive role models and other kids their age.

School Resource Officers (SRO) are law enforcement officers whose role is to ensure safety and prevent crime in schools. They are more popular in public schools across the nation in the past two decades specifically because of school shooters and other attempts of child abduction made at elementary schools. However, there is no research to suggest that SRO's are actually effective in preventing crime and keeping kids safe. In the infamous Parkland High School shooting, there was footage of the SRO fleeing the scene once he heard gunshots.

SRO's actually help speed along the school-to-prison pipeline for marginalized communities. SRO's often criminalize young children for disobeying school rules, and introduce them to the juvenile court system at quite a young age. They place a label on those they believe to be "future criminals," which ends up being a majority of young Black and LatinX boys and girls.

This is especially an issue in rural communities that are mostly white - like Montgomery County. Incidents that imply racial profiling get swept under the rug.

Virginia Organizing fought for almost over a year for MCPS to release their contracts they have with SRO's - and while we finally have them - it's not enough.

Our state representatives should vote to remove SRO's from our public school system.

Call the MCPS Board of Education Members and tell them how SRO's are harmful to our children's future: (540) 382-5100.

Anna Cheema, Leesburg

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