Sro Agreement

While the IGA will not fundamentally alter the daily lives of PPS students, the collaboration between the two entities is worrying for many. A large proportion of students and parishioners believe that the PPS Board of Education has not represented them and that the growing presence of SROs in schools will contribute more to discomfort than to a sense of security. In response to the council`s vote, students from a number of PPS high schools organized to take action against the IGA. Lujan finds inspiring “the unified approach that students have already taken” and encourages all those who are worried about the IGA to “be as bourgeois as possible.” When the Portland City Council will decide on the deal is not yet clear, but students hope they can work together to prevent it from being passed. While student safety is the top priority on all sides, the impact of the IGA has yet to be accepted as positive by many in the PPS community. Hinahara said the amended agreement adopted by the school authority was not satisfactory and that the Council should vote to put the item on the table until it is corrected. Nevertheless, Mizushima sees the unilateral vote as a “system failure.” She refers to PPS board members Nick Paesler and Julie Esparza Brown. Paesler, a Senior at Cleveland High School and the sole representative of the board of trustees, did not get a vote on the board`s decisions. This means that despite his commitment against the IGA, he was unable to influence the decision itself. Brown, the only member to vote against the deal, is the only person of color on the board.

“For many of us, there`s fear when we see uniforms and police,” Brown told the Portland Tribune. “I just want to acknowledge it.” Respondents to mace-McLatchie`s survey repeat this, with the vast majority of students stating that they disagree with the IGA or the way PPS proceeded with the vote. An anonymous newcomer to Franklin High School said, “I`d be incredibly uncomfortable if I knew that someone in my school is carrying a gun, because the only difference between a police officer who murders a high school student and a school shooter who murders a high school student is that the policeman will get through it.” This speech reached a tipping point on December 11, 2018, when the Portland Board of Education (PPS) voted in favor of an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with the Portland Police Department (PPB) on the presence of SROs in schools. The IGA was created in the hope of reaching a formal agreement between PPS and SCH and clearly defining the roles and responsibilities of both parties. Prior to the contract, there was no formally documented agreement between the two. The IGA outlines the role of PPS and SCH in their collaborative partnership, as they work together to “maintain a safe learning environment for students, employees and families,” while “addressing criminal misconduct by students in an alternative way that avoids referral to the juvenile justice system.” The agreement delegates an SRO to each of the nine PPS High School clusters and two sergeants to see the entire program covering all PPS High Schools and their respective feeder schools. PPS will contribute US$364,000 to SCH for the 2018-2019 fiscal year and approximately $US 1.2 million for each of the next three years of its service. In a 4-2 vote with one abstention, the seven mayor-appointed board members approved a one-year, $12 million intergovernmental agreement between the school district and CPD, which will provide school resource officers (SROs) at 55 Chicago high schools.

Under the revised agreement, SROs are no longer allowed to serve in schools with persistent allegations of excessive violence or complaints about inappropriate interactions with youth over the past five years. . . .


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Teisha Rowland, PhD, is the author of this blog.


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