Maryland Parents Demand Schools ‘Defund’ School Resource Officers

The Parent-Teacher Association aims to “end the damaging and ineffective school police model wholesale.”
Los Angeles, CA, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 - Hundreds gather downtown for a Black Lives Matter demonstration. Many are there in reaction to the Breonna Taylor case in Louisville, KY.
Robert Gauthier/ Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The Montgomery County Parent-Teacher Association in Maryland is pushing a resolution that would defund all student resource officers from public schools. 

According to a copy of the resolution obtained by The Daily Wire, the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) is calling on the Montgomery County Public School district to “discontinue placing police officers, [or student resource officers], on every high school campus.” The PTA also calls for the district to reallocate the money spent on student resource officers to mental health services and “restorative justice” practices. 

The organization claims that student resource officers engage in “bias and discrimination” against minority students and students with disabilities. In a separate letter to elementary school parents — for which the resolution has no immediate impact — PTA President Alyson Kozma claimed student resource officers were also biased against LGBTQ students. 

According to the school district’s data, 26 student resources officers work across the district’s 65 middle and high schools. 

The PTA’s resolution mimics the messaging of national “defund the police” proposals. The stated goal of the PTA’s resolution is to “end the damaging and ineffective school police model wholesale by prohibiting school districts from contracting with police departments to station officers in schools.” 

The Patrol Services Department, which oversees student resource officers, did not respond to requests for comment. 

The organization has taken the resolution a step further by calling on the school district to address issues out of its immediate control. The resolution calls for Maryland to redirect funding spent on student resource officers statewide for “mental health services and restorative approaches.” 

The PTA claims that student resource officers must be engaging in bias as minorities are punished at disproportionate rates compared to their population size. Of arrests in the last two years, 83% were of black and Hispanic students, though the racial groups compromise 21% and 32% of the population, respectively. The organization does not address the outsized amount of crime committed by minority students. 

According to the school district’s data, during the 2017-18 school year black and Hispanic students committed an outsized number of crimes in comparison to their white peers. The district saw 49 instances of students bringing weapons to school, with 45 brought by minority students. The district reported that 66 students threatened their peers; 55 of the aggressors were minorities. There were also 40 reports of drugs and controlled substances on school grounds, 36 of which were in the possession of minority students.

In the 2018-19 school year, the district saw an increase in physical attacks on students. There were 31 reported incidences, 30 of which were committed by minority students. 

When student resource officers deal with students, they do not always result in physical arrests. According to the district’s data, student resource officers have arrested 90 students over a two-year time span in comparison to 179 students who were issued “paper arrests.” Paper arrests occur when an officer outsources the school or Department of Juvenile Services to deal with a situation. 

When asked about the correlation between crime and arrests, the PTA president did not respond to The Daily Wire’s requests for comment. 

The resolution has garnered support from the east coast’s most progressive groups. The Maryland ACLU supports the agenda alongside the Democratic Socialists of America. 

The Montgomery County Council has also introduced official legislation to pull student resource officers from Montgomery County Public Schools. According to Bethesda Magazine, the bill was introduced by councilmembers Will Jawando and Hans Riemer in November 2020. 

“I recognize that occasionally there are serious, violent incidents or threats that indeed may require an arrest,” Reimer said in a statement. “But, as a general practice, arresting a student is giving up on that student.” 

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