Council Holds Public Hearing Thursday on Fate of School Resource Officers

A virtual public hearing concerning whether to prohibit the Montgomery County Police Department from having officers in public schools is set for Thursday night at 7:30 p.m.

Councilmembers Will Jawando and Hans Riemer sponsored the bill that calls for the removal of school resource officers (SRO). There are 23 such officers stationed in county schools.

Previously, Montgomery County Public Schools’ high school principals told the Board of Education that they were in unanimous support of keeping the officers in their schools.

In a news release, two high school students announced their support for ending the SRO program. Lauren Payne, a student at Richard Montgomery High School, and Avery Smedley, who attends Albert Einstein High School, likened the issue to the national call for police reform.

Smedley, lead organizer of Students Toward Equitable Public Schools, said the school district is “aiding and abetting a school to prison pipeline that incarcerates the most young Black men in America.” She noted in the release that MCPS arrest more Black students than any other group.

Payne, president of Young People for Progress, added, “There isn’t any data to support that police protect students, or even deter emergency situations such as school shootings.” According to the two students, more than 30 organizations representing students, parents and faith communities have called for the removal of SRO.

The students wrote, “Perhaps county leadership is afraid too afraid to look closely at police-free schools, fearful they will see what is becoming undeniably clear: the SRO program does not deter crime or violence but does harm students of color, students with disabilities, Muslim students, and LGBTQ+ students.”

Also opposing the use of police in schools is the Montgomery County Women’s Democratic Club, which issued a paper Jan. 28 with statistics showing that Black MCPS students are arrested more frequently than white students. According to their paper, during the 2019-2020 school year, 71 students were arrested, including 34 Black and four white students. In the 2018-2019 school year, there were 163 arrests, including 73 Black and 32 white students.

According to MCPS data, the student body makeup is 32.3% Hispanic and Latino, 28.3% white, 21.4% Black or African American and 14.4% Asian.

Related Posts

MCPS High School Principals Support Keeping School Resource Officers

Jawando, Riemer to Discuss Legislation on Tuesday to Remove School Resource Officers


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Suzanne Pollak

About Suzanne Pollak

Suzanne is a freelance reporter with Montgomery Community Media. She has over 35 years professional experience writing for newspapers, magazines, non-profit newsletters and the web.


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