The subject of School Resource Officers (SRO) remains a hot topic in Montgomery County.
When MyMCM asked parents on our Facebook page how they would feel if SROs returned into the schools, we received more than 104 comments, many expressing strong support for returning these police officers back into Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS).
An SRO is a Montgomery County police officer who works together with MCPS to both diffuse a serious situation as well as get to know the students and form bonds. They were removed at the start of this school year and replaced with Community Engagement Officers, who do not go onto school property unless invited by MCPS officials. They are police officers who are assigned to an area surrounding a school cluster and are first to arrive on the scene when called.
There have always been fights in schools, but some respondents pointed to what they believe is an increase in fights. Other parents pointed to the January shooting of a student inside Magruder High School as to why SROs are needed.
Johnny Towriss replied, “WE NEED SROs back! They know what’s going on in the schools. They can prevent the potential of a attack through student informed knowledge. It’s time to realize that SOME members of the county council are only damaging the safety of kids being able to attend school and feel safe.”
Rosalind Feldman, who identified herself as a parent and grandparent of MCPS students, said she strongly supports “the presence of specially trained, with at least a Bachelors Degree, police in our public schools.”
Pointing to a Jan. 20, 2020 incident at East Silver Spring Elementary School where two MCP officers berated a kindergartner who had fled the school premises, Feldman wrote, “Don’t want police like the woman who repeatedly made toxic comments to the little boy who ran away from his school & was found by police & returned. We need police, who are exceptionally competent in working with children, school personnel, & parents, & will protect our children from those with criminal intent.”
Several respondents said they believe students are better off without police officers in their school buildings.
Heather Rose posted, “I mean, if you want to keep feeding the school-to-prison pipeline, then sure, fine. But if you believe in data and research and student mental health and not fueling racism, it’s a pretty terrible idea.”
R. Tucker Mostrom noted, “The issue boils down to whether people think SROs make their kids safer or less so. Are there really any people left who don’t acknowledge the double standard that minority students suffer under?”