Desert Hot Springs Police Dept. Holds Town Hall Meeting; Parents Voice Concern Over School Violence

Nico Payne

The Desert Hot Springs Police Department held a special town hall meeting Monday to address continuing violence at Desert Hot Springs High School.

Parents tell NBC Palm Springs that violence is escalating, and they are contributing the reasoning to the lack of school resource officers on campus, while others say the solution does not lie with resource officers on campus, and other strategies are needed.

“I don’t want to be negative and think the worst but it’s just escalating so fast right before our eyes,” explained Gabriela Franco Felt, Desert Hot Springs High School Parent.

Parents contributed this violence to the removal of school resource officers earlier in the year, questioning who was responsible for their student’s safety.

“The kids need someone to come and establish orders, boundaries, discipline- all of those things that were thrown out the window when they decided to take the resource officers out of the school,” added Franco-Felt.

Other parents say that school violence is nothing new and school resource officers are not the solutions.

“As far as I can remember we’ve had SRO officers on campus, and this problem has still been with our palm springs unified school district, so the SRO officers obviously have not been the answer, we’ve still had the same similar issues as desert hot springs in palm springs for a decade or even more,” explained Charlie Ervin, President of the PSUSD African American Parent Advisory Council.

Parents point to CVUSD as an example saying SRO officers aren’t necessary.

“The answer is providing more for the students to be able to do after school, providing more mental health issues, restorative justice practices. We’ve seen that Coachella Valley Unified School District has switched to no SRO offices and we haven’t seen any ill situations, so maybe that should be something that desert hot springs should be speaking about,” explained Ervin.

After hearing multiple concerns from parents and residents about how acts of violence are handled on school campuses, the Desert Hot Springs City Council will be meeting on Tuesday for their regularly scheduled city council meeting. 

NBC Palm Springs will be following the developments to see how the council addresses what parents had to say.

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