San Francisco Unified School District officials at a hearing last week discussed plans to “decriminalize youth” and keep cops out. Because of course: It’s San Francisco.
The five-year contract, or memorandum of understanding, between the San Francisco Police Department and the school system expired last January. And it looks as if the two entities are coming to a very different kind of understanding.
The School Resource Officer (SRO) program, intended to assist with truancy intervention and school safety, reportedly lost some of its funding in 2012. Since that time, SROs still responded when they were called by administrators. But district officials have been restricting police presence since at least January 2014.
Several board members expressed displeasure regarding the way police do their jobs even now within the school setting. Their complaints include the concern that black and brown students have the highest rate of police interactions.
Gee, is the photo below what they meant? Looks like a super-racist interaction to me…
— SFPD RichmondStation (@SFPDRichmond) August 6, 2018
Kevin Boggess, political director for Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth, thinks the SRO program has “run its course.”
“We need to think of alternatives…to the SRO program to promote safety in schools.”
What will they do instead? Hire more counselors so kids can skip class to talk about their feels? That ought to be a real help when some ticking time bomb brings a gun to school.
His organization, along with Public Counsel of Los Angeles, stated in 2014 that unnecessary intrusions by police sent too many students straight to the juvenile justice system. It couldn’t have been the actions of the students, because that would require some level of personal responsibility.
Also, you may recall that Public Counsel recently advocated the cessation of “meaningless and discriminatory” SAT/ACT testing in college admissions. So we should definitely listen to what they have to say, since they’re such educational experts.
Commissioner Alison Collins is an outspoken member of the San Francisco school board who also wants to remove the entire School Resource Officer program.
“I would like for us as a district to be moving away from having police in schools at all.”
The new contract being debated is intended to “decriminalize youth,” whatever that actually means; to let school staff know when it’s appropriate to contact police dispatch; and to give responding officers clear guidelines about how they are expected to handle themselves on school property. Because school rules and students’ feels supersede the law in San Francisco, apparently. No shock there, because…leftism.
One past incident was brought up involving three juveniles arrested after a firearm that discharged. A public outcry ensued because police handcuffed the juveniles and walked them through the campus, in full view. Admittedly, I would be upset as a parent, too, if my son was marched through school in handcuffs. Of course, I’d be more upset that he had brought a gun to school in the first place and then tried to shoot one of his classmates; but then, that’s the kind of kooky mom I am.
According to the new rules being discussed, it will still be okay for police to respond to requests for assistance in certain situations. If an active shooter is on the rampage, by all means, let the cops take a hail of bullets. Or if someone finds a big, scary gun on campus, let an officer come and dispose of it (and its clips or magazines or whatever Joe Biden says guns use). And if a sexual assault is reported on the playground, then of course police should investigate the allegations and take the pervy little perp away in shackles.
But otherwise? They can just back off, pretty much. Their presence is no longer appreciated or required. Other California districts, such as Sacramento Unified Schools, also are restricting police presence.
Never mind stories of heroic or just plain awesome SROs.
For instance, we should ignore SROs like the Officer Mark Dallas, who was just doing his job at Dixon High School in Illinois when an active shooter situation occurred on May 16, 2018. He charged toward the suspect and confronted him head-on, saving countless students.
And we’ll skip over San Francisco Police Officer Jason Johnson, who mentors youth and takes them on all-expenses-paid trips to Ghana through his own nonprofit, Operation Genesis.
And while we’re at it, let’s just forget altogether that kids need to build positive relationships with adults they can respect and turn to in a time of crisis. For many students, that officer who gives them a fist-bump every morning is one of the few adults they know they can count on.
The SRO program isn’t a pipeline to prison. It’s a lifeline for at-risk youth. And it’s even more vital when that resource officer is a good man who can provide boys with the mentorship of a strong male role model, which many do not have at home.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all SROs, and one in particular. Jim Cowan, retired Marine and former SRO/jungle gym for the students at Northwestern Consolidated School District in Indiana – from the bottom of my heart, thank you.