Why I Support SROs In Howard County Public Schools

Safety for All

Parents entrust their children to our schools with the clear expectation they will provide a safe, nurturing  learning environment for all students. Students must feel relaxed and safe in their environment to be able to  learn. Teachers should feel relaxed and safe in their environment to teach. I feel strongly that School Resource  Officers (SROs) are essential for helping schools meet those expectations. The program’s stated goal is to  build positive relationships with students and staff while providing deterrence and a safe school environment.

HCASA Agrees: Retain SROs in Schools  

As was reported in the Howard County Times, the union for the district’s administrators (Howard County  Association of Supervisors and Administrators- HCASA) also supports keeping SROs in schools. Nick Novak,  HCASA president and principal at Howard High School, noted teachers and administrators aren’t trained to  handle many of situations SROs deal with in schools. SROs can and do prevent incidents from happening in  the first place due to their additional training and relationships with students. “What doesn’t get reported is  when our SROs are able to stop something before it even happens. When you bring someone from the  outside, and this has happened in many of our schools, it makes the situation worse. Sometimes what  would be a simple situation with an SRO then escalates without one.” – Mr. Novak. The scope of that  training program is eye-opening. It’s not just about stopping fights.

Training for School Resource Officers is Comprehensive and Inclusive 

SROs are carefully selected. Then they’re required to attend and pass a seventy-hour block of instruction over  and above the training all HCPD officers receive. Here are just some of the Center for School Safety 2022  training modules, which were updated and enhanced based on feedback from the community and  stakeholders:

  • School Emergency Planning
  • Restorative Approaches in Schools
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Implicit Bias
  • De-Escalation
  • Investigation of Bullying
  • Normative Adolescent Behavior
  • Maintaining a Positive School Climate
  • Disability and Diversity Awareness, including  cultural fluency & inclusiveness
  • Constructive Interaction with Students; SROs can  become mentors

Notwithstanding the acknowledged skills and training of SROs, there are some who have been loudly opposed  to the very idea of having SROs in a school. The result? All six SROs assigned to rotate among middle schools  were removed.

Will the High School SRO Program be Next?

Now there remain only thirteen- one for each high school and the Homewood Center. In the Times article,  Robert Motley, HCASA’s vice president and principal of Atholton High School, said removing the program  would be a mistake. He believes doing so would be throwing away an opportunity the school system and the  police department have to heal the relationship between police and some communities. What an awesome  opportunity for our school system and the police department to collaborate together to forge that. I see  the wonderful opportunity that exists. If it’s eliminated, that opportunity is gone.” – Mr. Motley

IMPORTANT NOTE: It is required that the SRO program be approved by the BOE each year. As your BOE  voice, I will do my utmost to retain SROs in high schools and return them to middle schools. 

Safety for ALL.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.