As the nation debates how best to change law enforceent, the city of Charlottesville and its police force have announced plans to remove officers from city schools.
Charlottesville’s police chief and its superintendent of schools had been talking about a change to the role of so-called School Resource Officers for months according to police spokesman Tyler Hawn.
“Even before the pandemic hit we were working with the city school board to say, ‘Okay, what’s the best approach for student safety and well-being inside the school building? Is it with police officers? Is it without police officers?”
They were concerned that students might be made to feel like criminals after misbehaving.
“We don’t want to give the impression or even the perception that police officers contribute to the school to prison pipeline in any way.”
Four School Resource Officers were reassigned when schools closed at the start of the pandemic. They will likely be replaced after the city gets feedback from the public and looks at how other communities ensure the mental and emotional well-being of students and their safety. The cost of the program -- $300,000 – could be applied to hiring other people with different credentials and training to fill that role.