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The phasing out of resource staff in DC schools will continue as planned

The phasing out of resource staff in DC schools will continue as planned

School resource officers are one step closer to phasing out DC public schools.

School resource staff is one step closer to the gradual withdrawal from the district’s public schools.

On Tuesday, as a result of a vote of 8 to 5, the DC Council followed a plan to gradually reduce the number of school resources in public and statutory schools from 60 employees from July 1 this year to 40 employees in 2023, then to 20 employees by 2024. , fully completing the program by 2025.

The vote took place as part of a broader discussion of the budget. Mayor Muriel Bowser has put forward a subheading to the budget that will preserve the SRO program for the next fiscal year beginning July 1. The SRO program is run by the District of Columbia Police.

The second vote on the proposed budget is scheduled for May 24.

“It is important to note that they did not ask for more time. They did not ask for more money. They have not developed a plan or vision of the alternatives they would like, ”said Charles Allen, a member of the 6th House Council.

“They’re just telling us to abandon that plan because they’re not interested in creating a more holistic non-law enforcement approach to school safety.”

This step is taken from the protocol issued by the DC Police Reform Commission in April 2021 with a proposal to eliminate the presence of the police in schools and replace it with specialists in “positive youth development”.

According to Elena, this will include trained educators, counselors and facilitators.

Most school principals who testified at a hearing last month advocated for the preservation of the program. On Tuesday, supporters of Bowser’s efforts to preserve SRO funding cited a tough atmosphere that they said had gripped the city.

“Our city and its schools are experiencing a tremendous outbreak of crime and violence from students, parents and other members of our local communities,” said council chairman Phil Mendelssohn. “Among this wave of crime, driven mainly by juvenile delinquents, our members and other school staff fear for their safety.”

House Council member 8 Trayon White mentioned meeting with 75 minors last weekend and said their two main concerns were safety in schools and safe transportation to and from school.

He also told a voter story about how a fight between students led to several parents visiting the school to check on their children, and then a fight broke out between the parents who arrived.

“This is the climate we are in now,” White said.

Allen and others, however, criticized the SRO program as ineffective.

“The argument I hear is that violence is spreading in our schools now … we have SROs floating around our schools. Therefore, the current system does not work to ensure the safety of our students, ”said board member Robert White.

“So if the current system doesn’t work to ensure the safety of our students, and our argument is that our best choice for student safety is to keep doing the same thing, then we are fundamentally losing meaning.”

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