MINNEAPOLIS – The Minneapolis Public Schools and the St. Paul School District are both considering new contracts with their cities respective police departments, which would see the number of officers in schools decrease in the next year.
Minneapolis Public Schools was considering a number of options regarding school resource officers (SROs) from the Minneapolis Police Department including removing them from schools entirely. However, the plan officials presented on Tuesday evening would instead shrink the program slightly.
Currently, Minneapolis schools have 16 SROs in place across the district. The proposed new contract, which will be voted on by the school board in August, would reduce this to 14 SROs. The contract would also change some rules regarding SROs presence, and clarify their role in schools.
Minneapolis Public Schools’ recommendation is based at least in part on a survey conducted by the district that surveyed the attitudes of over 7,000 students, 700 staff members, and 600 parents regarding SROs. At least 72 percent of each group agreed that SROs should work in their schools. This includes affirmative answers from 69 percent of African American students, and 65 percent of African American parents.
Of those who disagreed, the majority believe that SROs are simply unnecessary, followed by those who believe SROs are intimidating to students.
Of those who have positive views on the program, the vast majority believe that first and foremost SROs address general issues of safety in the public school system.
In spite of all this however, Minneapolis Public Schools are not following the preferred course of action among those surveyed regarding the future of the SRO program. Respondents were asked to select between maintaining the program as is, reducing the program, or shutting the program down entirely.
Fifty-eight percent of students, 77 percent of staff, and 71 percent of parents believe that the program should be continued as is.
In spite of this Minneapolis schools will be reducing their SROs’ presence. The St. Paul School district will also cut the number of SROs in their school down from nine officers to seven, reports the Star Tribune.