The first line of security at most high schools in the District of Columbia are metal detectors and screening devices like those shown here at H.D. Woodson High School in Northeast staffed by security personnel. (Shevry Lassiter/The Washington Informer)
The first line of security at most high schools in the District of Columbia are metal detectors and screening devices like those shown here at H.D. Woodson High School in Northeast staffed by security personnel. (Shevry Lassiter/The Washington Informer)

Council voted to reduce the number of school resource officers in public and charter schools so that the program will end in 2025. 

The school resource officer program is run by the MPD. The suggestion to remove officers and replace them with trained educators, counselors and mediators is an idea taken from an April 2021 report issued by the D.C. Police Reform Commission.

The plan would decrease SROs in school from 60 personnel as of July 1 this year, to 40 personnel in 2023, then 20 personnel by 2024. The program would end by 2025. 

At a hearing last month, a number of school officials and some parents spoke in favor of keeping the program. Mayor Bowser, whose budget included funding to maintain SRO funding, noted an uptick in violence in the city that hasn’t spared schools. 

Council Chair Phil Mendelson spoke of a “crime wave” that is driven by youth and has made school communities fearful for their safety. Mendelson pointed out, “Our city and its schools are experiencing a frightening surge in crime and violence perpetrated by students, parents and other members of our local communities.”

Trayon White, Ward 8 Councilman and candidate for mayor, says the 75 youth he spoke with over the most recent weekend told him they were most concerned with safety in schools and transportation to allow them to travel safely to and from school.

He shared that one of his constituents told him of an incident in which a student fight caused parents to come to the school to check on their children. Then the parents started fighting between themselves. 

Charles Allen, of Ward 6 wasn’t alone in calling the SRO program ineffective. Allen has been on record that officers in schools could lead to more policing of Black and Hispanic children, an argument supported by researchers who study the impact of policing on children. Children’s experience with school discipline can be the catalyst for future negative future outcomes- often referred to as the “school-t0-prison pipeline.” 

However, following the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Tex., which saw a gunman kill 19 elementary school students, D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Lewis D. Ferebee promised to “continue to work closely” with the D.C. police and other city agencies on school security.

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  1. This time in our country there is no respect from parents nor their children in all school systems. The parents want the schools (teachers) to rear their children. When I went to school I was taught you respected the teachers, adults, elders and you should, first respect your parents and have respect for yourself. My mother said mind your business don’t gossip and talk about other people look in the mirror at yourself and you will find a flaw. Gossiping to people about someone they will not tell the story right as you said it and then this will cause a fight. She also said everyone is not your friend your best friend is yourself, me, my and I and they can cause you to get in trouble. Plus I had chores I had to pick up my brother and cousin from nursery school and then I better have something cooking on the stove when my mother arrived home from work. Parents should have more discipline over their children at home especially manners and respect. They get mad with the school staff
    when called about their child behavior as if the teachers and staff is causing their children to act out and fight in school, which causes disruptions in the class, cafeteria or hallway while other students
    want to learn and cause panic situations for the teachers and support staff. When I was growing up going to school learning how to read and getting an education was drilled into you as the most important aspect of your life, education and getting a job. Some parents think the teachers should be their kids surrogate parents but these kids even in middle school curse the teachers out and will call them the (B) word without stuttering. Then there is the home situations, sometimes the home situation can be overwhelming for the parent or parents and the children, adults act out, don’t they? I worked at a psychiatric facility for fifty three years when people act out there’s a reason if they don’t do it at home, where will they act out, in the streets which some do, at school causing fights being belligerent having a attitude with other students by bumping into them in the hallways, classroom, cafeteria or throwing pencils or paper at each other. I feel there should be counseling for the parent or parents then the child. We, the teachers and all support staff are outsiders in between the parent or parents and don’t forget grandparents or aunts and uncles who may have a part in the child or children life. You have to start while they are young to curb the anger and get control of what’s going with their behavior to prevent these school and street shootings and stabbings. The hurt or neglect you receive when younger you never forget it stays with you through childhood, adolescent, puberty into adulthood until something or some word triggers that hurt to the forefront causing extreme acting out behavior, fighting, shootings, gang affiliations. Counseling should be with the child along not with the custodian parent or parents and not telling them what the child expressed in the session because the child or children will definitely have a hard time when they get home and may get slapped side the head telling their home
    situations. Sorry I wrote a book but children need understanding and counseling to avoid school incidents, leading to more hurt and anger, leading to more acting out getting older and worst into adulthood and control bullying as an adult.

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