FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/FOX24) — On Tuesday, the Fayetteville City Council will be hearing a proposal from Fayetteville Public Schools and the Fayetteville Police Department about adding more school resource officers.
The district and the police department want funding to add another SRO this school year, and want to let the council know of intentions to add two more SROs each year until each school building as its own officer. The district currently has six SROs.
However, not everyone feels more SROs is the best or only solution to address school safety.
The Arkansas Justice Reform Coalition is calling on parents to voice their concerns to the city council. Corey Huffty is one of those parents who spoke up by emailing the council.
While her child, Bertram, is only three-years-old, he will be going to FPS in just a few years. Huffty hopes Fayetteville Schools and the city step back and look at the bigger picture.
“I know that we’re all anxious to do something, I’m anxious to do something, we all want to see some steps taken, but I think as the research shows, this could actually be detrimental for our kids,” she said.
The Bookings Institute is a research institution focused on public policy. It says SRO’s have been linked with increased arrests for noncriminal, youthful behavior, which fuels the school-to-prison pipeline.
AJRC wants to see funding invested in other resources it says are more productive in helping students live healthy and safe lives, such as mental health counselors and after-school and youth development programs.
“If we could be proactive and address the concerns often lead to that lead to school shooters, I think that we would be a lot better off,” said Beth Coger, Co-Founder of AJRC. “I think that we have tools and resources that we could implement, other than SROs. That would keep our school safe.”
The Fayetteville City Council meeting is happening Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.