Say NO to SRO's

What is going on?

The school board is voting on a new contract with the CRPD on June 13, 2021. Currently, there are 5 SROs (at Polk, Metro, Wash, Jeff, and Kennedy). There have also been 2 floating SROs for which CRCSD and city of Cedar Rapids each paid $138,000. Please email school board members and urge them to eliminate the two floating SRO positions (or to end the SRO program).

Despite it being a very challenging year from a behavioral standpoint, it was reported at the school board meeting in April that the two floating SROs responded to only 16 daytime calls for help this school year. In other words, in eight months’ time, each of the two floating SRO responded to just one call per month.

Responding to one call per month does not justify the cost of $138,000 per year that the school district paid for those 2 SROs, especially when the budget is tight. CRPD will still be available to respond to these calls without any charge to CRCSD. And an officer patrolling the neighborhood will be able to respond faster than a floating SRO at a school across town. Adding services from community nonprofits is more cost-effective and can help students.

An additional concern is the two floating SROs have been patrolling the hallways at Jefferson and Washington High Schools. There is no justification to have floating SROs serve high schools: arrest numbers are down significantly this year indicating less need for law enforcement. Per best practices and the contract, police are not to be involved in school discipline. Further, the discussion about SROs was brought to the school board’s attention by the Black Student Union requesting removal of police in schools. To instead double the number of police in high schools would go in the opposite direction.

We agree with and want to ensure,
Every Learner, Future Ready!
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Learn Why-
School Resource Officer Research

  • Arrests:

    • Students are more likely to be arrested in schools with SROs. Nationally, even when controlling for poverty, schools with an SRO have 5x the arrest rate for disorderly conduct as schools without an SRO.

    • SROs are not supposed to be involved in discipline but half of principals nationally report they are. This converts normal student misbehavior (like disruption) into a crime (like disorderly conduct). 71% of complaints against Cedar Rapids students from 2015-20 were for simple misdemeanors like disorderly conduct that are subjective charges.

    • Students who are arrested are more likely to drop out of school and later enter the criminal justice system as adults (the school-to-prison pipeline).

  • Impact on students of color:

    • 1/4 of black and multi-racial students in CR said they feel uncomfortable or very uncomfortable and unsafe or very unsafe around their school SRO.

    • From 2017-21 in CR: Black students have 4x the risk of white students of being arrested at school (even though nationally the data shows that white and black youth misbehave at roughly the same rate)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • Relationships:

    • Research shows that SROs do not change students’ perceptions of the police or even delinquent behavior, so police presence in schools is not effective at building relationships.

    • There is a conflict in the role of police saying students can trust and confide in them while police can use information to arrest students.

    • Relationship building is best done by therapists/counselors/social workers and others with more extensive training in supporting students’ well-being.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • Safety:

    • There is no evidence SROs make schools safer or decrease crime rates or deter school shootings.

    • In a study of school shootings, 68 had an SRO and almost all incidents ended before police interceded. Once they shot and killed an active shooter. Most shootings target one or two victims and finish within seconds, leaving no time to intervene.

    • If SROs were in schools for safety reasons, Cedar Rapids would have put them in all middle schools.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • Cost:

    • The cost per SRO in Cedar Rapids is $138,000. Social workers, nurses, therapists, and restorative justice facilitators can provide services at a much lower cost.

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