RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The Wake County Board of Education is asking for your help deciding the future of school resource officers and their role inside of local public schools.
There are currently 75 school resource officers in Wake County Public Schools.
“We want to make sure we’re keeping our students safe,” said Wake Co. School Board Chairman Keith Sutton.
To make safety a priority, WCPSS spent $1.1 million per year for the past 3 years on SROs.
“Our number one priority beyond making sure there’s adequate teaching and learning going on is making sure we’ve got a safe learning environment,” said Sutton.
Negotiations between the district and Wake County’s eleven local law enforcement agencies are typically straight forward, but Sutton says this year is different.
“There is quite a bit more interest around this issue around this MOU because of what we are seeing in our greater society around police reform, and police accountability,” said Sutton.
Over the past year, a number of student protests have called for the removal of SROs all together.
“The board has come to a decision that we want to keep SROs in our schools,” said Sutton.
However, Sutton says he would like their role to change.
“There can be over policing of students that happens or occurs in schools criminalizing student behavior,” said Sutton.
That’s why he believes there should be standards of accountability for both SROs and the students they serve including avenues to report complaints.
“Probably the most important point is that we can facilitate better relationships between law enforcement, and particularly students, but others in the building,” said Sutton.
The Wake County Board of Education is gathering most of its information from parent and student surveys.