SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — School starts in two weeks and when kids in the Sacramento City Unified School District show up, they won’t see a student resource officer on campus (SRO).
Instead, SRO’s will be floating between 70 different schools, and on-call in case of emergency.
Student Christina Defazio-Kerle said she likes seeing her “school officer” roaming campus. But as she heads to school this year, that will change.
“We’re trying to reimagine what school safety looks like,” said Superintendent Jose Aguilar.
He says now there will be three student resource officers to cover 70 schools in the district, that’s down from eight. Officers will instead “float” responding to emergency calls throughout the district.
“We strongly believe cops don’t belong in our schools, nor should school districts front the budget to pay them,” said one parent at Thursday nights public hearing on the plan.
Another said, “I feel it’s more than response time, it’s relationship building.”
The plan is called “reimagine school safety.” School leaders have debated where a district in financial disarray should spend their safety dollars.
“We need to not have School Resource Officers stationed on campus that can be used as crutches for administrators,” said one board member.
Critics of having an officer presence say they’d rather that money go to district mental health professionals, and counselors, not cops. Some parents say that’s because of tension between communities of color and law enforcement.
CBS13 looked into how other schools stack up when it comes to school safety.
With the new plan, Sacramento City Unified now has about 15,000 students for every 1 SRO.
In Folsom-Cordova, there are 3,500 students for every 1 SRO.
In Stockton, there are 4 SROs for 4 high schools, but none for K through 8th grade.
In Elk Grove Unified there are about 7,000 students for every SRO.
Some parents say they’re worried so many kids are in the hands of just three armed guards. Especially with school shooting on the rise, and so are their kids.
“She thinks about it, she hopes it’s not going to happen, I think all the kids think about it,” said Theresa Defazio.
Some of these districts also have “security specialists” on campus. They’re not affiliated with police and are not armed.
Superintendent Jorge Aguilar said he plans to call the Sacramento Police Department to discuss the best way to implement the new plan before the start of the school year.