Palm Springs Unified To Bring Back Resource School Officers

Nico Payne

Palm Springs Unified approved negotiations last night during a board meeting that would allow for school resource officers to return to campus. The return of the officers still depends on the approval of each city council and final approval from the Palm Springs School Board.

“I’m here to ask you, the board to boldly divest in tentatives deals with law enforcement, recently we heard from the California department of education that they reiterated their ruling that using money intended for English language learners, low-income foster youth, and homeless youth cannot be spent on law enforcement and security,” said Veronica Munos, PSUSD Educator.

Parents addressed the Palm Springs school board with a list of concerns regarding SRO’s or school resource officers, ranging from how they will be spending funds, to the safety of their students.

“Violence in the streets can spill into the schools and vice versa, they can carry it off to schools. Now it is very unfair to put all the responsibility on the SRO’s. They are a very key part of making the environment a safe environment mentally and physically to be the first responders if something does happen on school sites,” said Edith Duran, PSUSD Parent.

But not all parents agree that having a school resource officer is beneficial

“I’m not in favor of the SRO’s on campus, we have no data or stats to support them on our campuses, and the officers sometimes take actions on a school level violation that breaks rules but aren’t criminal. we know the school-to-prison pipeline is real,” said Deiter Crawford, Member of African American Parent Advisory Council.

Board members backing up that statement say they are not sure investing in school officers is the best use of resources.

“Some of the research I have studied, no evidence that they reduce violence on a campus, none at all, and as a matter of fact, they do negatively in a disproportional way affect our students of color, that is a fact, that is proven,” explained John Gerardi, PSUSD Board Member.

The new SRO agreement is set to include a set of new officers that will be trained by the schools to handle specific circumstances involved with behavioral health. And approaches to handle decriminalization.

“My recommendation is that the board tonight approve us to engage in those service agreements, so if the board were to approve the recommendations this evening, Mr. Smart and I will individually work with each agency,” said Dr. Mike Swize, Superintendent of PSUSD.

Parents also point out CVUSD as an example saying they cut their SRO program back in 2018 and haven’t seen a spike in crime on their campuses.

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