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NASRO supports continuation of school resource officer programs

National organization calls for transformation as needed

Published Friday, June 5, 2020 by Mo Canady

The following statement may be attributed to Mo Canady, executive director, National Association of School Resource Officers:

Although saying so should be unnecessary, the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) abhors racism of all forms and believes that all people deserve the same fairness, respect, dignity, security, and justice. NASRO puts that position into action by teaching school resource officers (SROs) about implicit bias, how to recognize it in themselves and how to overcome it, in a module that has been part of our basic school resource officer course for many years. Some communities, however, choose not to use the training that NASRO makes available nationwide and internationally.

NASRO also believes that generalization is unfair to any segment of our population, including members of organizations or professions. In other words, we do not believe in forming opinions about any large group based on the behavior of a few members.

We are, of course, dismayed to learn that some school systems have recently discontinued or considered discontinuing their SRO programs. Our experience shows that using best practices NASRO pioneered, including selecting SROs carefully and providing them effective, specialized training, leads to community satisfaction with SRO programs. Such well-implemented programs can help communities bridge the gap between law enforcement and youth, building positive relationships that can last lifetimes, while helping to protect schools from a wide variety of threats. In addition, they can do so while reducing referrals of students to the juvenile justice system.

Our 2012 report, “To Protect and Educate,” shows significant decreases in juvenile arrests during a period which implementation of SRO programs increased. The U.S. Department Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention recently released data that shows a continued decrease in juvenile arrests nationwide through 2018.

In addition, the Police Foundation’s “Averted School Violence” database contains many reports of school resource officers preventing on-campus violence, thanks to information gained through positive relationships these officers built with students.

In communities that choose not to use NASRO training, we have little or no knowledge of how SROs are trained or behave. If systemic, agency-wide law enforcement issues exist in such communities – and we acknowledge that is unfortunately possible – resolution is necessary and could require drastic measures. We hope, however, that rather than eliminating SRO programs, communities will consider transforming them, as needed, with best practices. This can help prevent the loss of the many benefits well-administered SRO programs can provide.

NASRO stands ready, as always, to provide assistance to any community that desires it.