Stefani and I have been engaged in an email conversation with Check Lacy, a MMUUSD Board Member and Finance Committee Member. My impression is that Board Members are paying attention to and learning from local and broader information related to School Resource Officers.
I let him know that I would be sharing our recent conversation, as Stephani has done in the past. Here is the most recent message, which I think will help those who go to the MMUUSD Budget meeting tonight, December 14, 2020:
Sent: Monday, December 14, 2020 1:25 AM
Cc: Chuck Lacy <email@example.com>; Stefani Hartsfield <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: MMUUUSD Finance Committee conversation about School Resource Officer (SRO) budgeted expense for next year
“I now understand we need a job description and required qualifications for any SRO work. This is a more specialized role than I had imagined. I started with the assumption that this is simply a cop in the school. I was wrong. Students sometimes face issues I could not have imagined – custody issues with the potential of violence, children dealing with violent homes, and the like. I’ve learned the current SRO is available to BRMS. A teacher there described the comfort of having a known SRO on the scene during a school lockdown with a parent raging over a custody dispute and scaring everyone to the bone. A specialized SRO on the team with social work, administration, nursing, etc is a conceivable benefit to me. If the school nurse uncovers an abuse situation requiring intervention – an SRO who is a known trusted colleague could be helpful, ideally someone with relevant training. But I’m still learning.
“If there is an SRO, the job description and qualifications and maybe an annual report should be public and explained to everybody in the building. I’d be interested in how a job redesign could mitigate the negative impact on some children of having an officer in the school. Everybody should certainly know why there is a cop in the school and what they are doing. We don’t have that now and that might address some particle of the problem.
“I want to get the issue out of the finance committee and into the board as a whole. I don’t think the finance committee members see this as a budget question (it isn’t) and the entire board should be involved (they aren’t). If there is ever a problem which could be attributed to either having or not having an SRO, the board should have accepted the responsibility for the decision and the outcome.
“In the main, I hope people don’t view this as a local metaphor for the national debate. This is our own circumstance.
“I work in an out of state city that has cops relevant to the national debate. I know what that looks like.
“Everything here is my opinion only. I’m not speaking for the board. chuck”