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house Bill H.R. 7209

Should the Feds Fund School Resource Officers in K-12 Schools?

Argument in favor

School resource officers help make schools safer by maintaining calm learning environments through deterring acts of violence and standing ready to respond should something transpire. Funding the DOJ’s COPS program, which helps local law enforcement hire SROs, will put these valuable resources into more schools.

George's Opinion
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12/31/2018
The 2nd amendment is a federal constitutional law and therefore school officers used to deter those who would abuse our 2nd amendment rights should be funded by the federal government.
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Mr-Moderate's Opinion
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12/31/2018
Yes. We need to accept the world we live in and equip our schools appropriately. I was a school resource officer until the funding was cut. I cannot express the importance of this position. Not only is it continuous extra security for the school but it also allows an officer to develope positive relationships with the students. As it is now the only time schools without an SRO program sees an officer is when something is wrong. Developing positive relationships will make it easier for students and staff to come forward if they hear or see something that isn't right.
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SneakyPete's Opinion
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12/31/2018
House bill H.R. 7209 AKA— the School Resource Officer Act of 2018 I’m in full support of and recommend the passage of this House bill H.R. 7209 AKA— the School Resource Officer Act of 2018 — would authorize the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program in the Department of Justice (DOJ) at $300 million each year from 2019-2022. Of this money, 30 percent of the funds are designated to pay for School Resource Officers’ (SROs) salaries and benefits. When used for SROs, COPS funds could be used to provide up to 75 percent of the salary and benefits for full-time school resource officers (SROs), with a 25 percent minimum local cash match requirement. The maximum federal share of each officer’s pay is $125,000 a year. School resource officers help make schools safer by maintaining calm learning environments through deterring acts of violence and standing ready to respond should something transpire. Funding the DOJ’s COPS program, which helps local law enforcement hire SROs, will put these valuable resources into more schools. SneakyPete........ 👍🏻👮🏽‍♀️👮🏼‍♂️👍🏻. 12*30*18.......
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Argument opposed

School resource officers make schools less safe for students of color, who are more likely to have negative interactions — including being arrested by — these officers. Rather than militarizing schools and treating students as potential criminals, we should spend money on mental health resources to support students.

Donnie's Opinion
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12/31/2018
Money should go toward funding the public schools educational system. Federal Resource officers are a wasteful spending of taxpayers’ money. It’s not the solution to this problem.
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EmmaRowland's Opinion
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12/31/2018
There’s not even enough money to get enough books and desks for all of the students. Where on earth would the money to fund SROs come from? Because if it magically appears, let’s fund the classrooms first.
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Anna's Opinion
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12/31/2018
Take police out of schools. Treat kids like students and not criminals, then we will have more adults going to college rather than prison.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
    IntroducedNovember 30th, 2018

What is House Bill H.R. 7209?

This bill — the School Resource Officer Act of 2018 — would authorize the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program in the Department of Justice (DOJ) at $300 million each year from 2019-2022. Of this money, 30 percent of the funds are designated to pay for School Resource Officers’ (SROs) salaries and benefits. When used for SROs, COPS funds could be used to provide up to 75 percent of the salary and benefits for full-time school resource officers (SROs), with a 25 percent minimum local cash match requirement. The maximum federal share of each officer’s pay is $125,000 a year.

Impact

Students; schools; local law enforcement; SROs; DOJ; and the COPS program.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 7209

$1.20 Billion
A CBO cost estimate is unavailable. However, at the funding level called for in this bill — $300 million a year — over the four-year period from 2019-2022, this bill would cost $1.2 billion.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Paul Mitchell (R-MI) introduced this bill to assist law enforcement agencies in hiring additional SROs by directing funds for cost-share grants to pay SROs’ salaries and benefits:

“Throughout meetings I have held on school safety with school administrators and teachers, one thing I consistently heard was that school resource officers (SROs) – sworn law enforcement officers – are an important component in maintaining a calm and safe learning environment. Having a SRO in a school not only provides a safer atmosphere, but these officers often become an integral part of the school community, serving as a positive influence and a reminder of what we expect of our children. I would know: my oldest son, now a police detective, previously served as a school resource officer for two years in his community. My bipartisan bill, the School Resource Officer Act, will enable more communities to partner with their local police forces to hire additional SROs through the Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Program.”

Some critics of SROs contend that they too often intervene in school disciplinary situations that don’t actually call for a response from law enforcement. There are also concerns that SROs create an unsafe and disproportionately unfair environment for students of color in particular.

Dewey Cornell, a psychology professor at the University of Virginia who studies school safety, argues that SROs are “emotionally reassuring and politically appealing,” but impractical:

“Putting police officers in schools is emotionally reassuring and politically appealing but not practical. Schools are one of the safest places in our country. If you put police officers in schools as guards, they will have little to do and they will not be in the high crime areas of our community where they are needed the most.”

Marc Schindler, head of the Justice Policy Institute, argues that SROs are a largely failed policy:

"In fact, the data really shows otherwise — that this is largely a failed approach in devoting a significant amount of resources but not getting the outcome in school safety that we are all looking for."

The Brookings Institution’s Kenneth Alonzo Anderson conducted a survey of SRO effectiveness in North Carolina, and found that students’ experiences with SROs were mixed:

“Males, students who have strong connectedness with schools, and students who had positive attitudes towards SROs reported feeling safer in schools. However, females, African-American students, and students who have experienced various forms of school violence, such as fights, arguments, bullying, or religious teasing, reported feeling less safe in schools, even though SROs were present.”

Ultimately, Alonzo Anderson concluded that “limited” use of SROs probably makes schools safer, but the use of SROs needs to balanced against the need to keep schools safe for students of all ages and races:

“A minimalist approach to SRO use, such as having the officers focus on preventing mass acts of violence, and other negotiated duties, while limiting day-to-day interactions with students, might reduce juvenile arrests. Minimizing school resource involvement is especially critical in a middle-grades context because young adolescents are experiencing rapid biological, social, moral, and emotional changes. A concern with increased SRO use is that poor decisionmaking, on the part of young adolescents, could be criminalized, when, in fact, other types of developmental support is needed. My findings indicate that policies to increase school safety must address the complexity of school safety, including factors outside of schooling contexts, and should extend beyond popular single-item solutions, such as increased policing or increased mental health support.”

Student activism around police-free schools has been active in 2018, with a December 5, 2018 march in Washington, D.C. in which students and supporters marched to call for removing police officers from schools.

This bill has the support of eight cosponsors, including six Republicans and two Democrats.


Of NoteSROs — law enforcement personnel responsible for safety and crime prevention in schools — have been in place for over six decades.  In the wake of high-profile school shootings, SROs are receiving renewed attention as integral components of school safety strategies. In March 2018, the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) estimated that they were 14,000-20,000 SROs in about 30 percent of U.S. schools.

The COPS program has operated through DOJ discretionary appropriations since authorization lapsed in FY2010. The average COPS appropriation each fiscal year during the last decade was approximately $300 million.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / Steve Debenport)

AKA

School Resource Officer Act of 2018

Official Title

To amend the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to require a certain percentage of COPS grant funds to be used for the salaries and benefits of school resource officers, and for other purposes.

    The 2nd amendment is a federal constitutional law and therefore school officers used to deter those who would abuse our 2nd amendment rights should be funded by the federal government.
    Like (42)
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    How about we fund the schools instead?
    Like (165)
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    Money should go toward funding the public schools educational system. Federal Resource officers are a wasteful spending of taxpayers’ money. It’s not the solution to this problem.
    Like (102)
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    There’s not even enough money to get enough books and desks for all of the students. Where on earth would the money to fund SROs come from? Because if it magically appears, let’s fund the classrooms first.
    Like (90)
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    Take police out of schools. Treat kids like students and not criminals, then we will have more adults going to college rather than prison.
    Like (71)
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    This is better left to the states. The Federal government has been a failure in public education. States can do better. #MAGA
    Like (31)
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    How about we pay teachers what they are worth instead? How about we fund the classrooms instead? The teachers actually need help. 125000?!?!? My mother retired after 30 years as a school teacher and didn’t even make HALF that and she was one of the highest paid in the district. To hell with you guys. Pay teachers. Fund schools. Education is more important than the authoritarian mentality of the paranoid gun cult.
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    Rather than pay for resource officers, why not apply some common sense gun laws? I am a big proponent of our constitution, including the right to bear arms. But we can limit the types of firearms you can buy. We already do it because I can’t buy an automatic weapon or a bazooka. Why can’t we just dial it back a little and keep assault rifles out of circulation?
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    Put that money towards funding public education. The number of SROs has been increased and for what? They have not stopped one school shooting, they tend to escalate behavior instead of de- escalating behavior and the number is student arrests have increased dramatically. Increasing the funding of SROs is not what is needed.
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    Yes. We need to accept the world we live in and equip our schools appropriately. I was a school resource officer until the funding was cut. I cannot express the importance of this position. Not only is it continuous extra security for the school but it also allows an officer to develope positive relationships with the students. As it is now the only time schools without an SRO program sees an officer is when something is wrong. Developing positive relationships will make it easier for students and staff to come forward if they hear or see something that isn't right.
    Like (17)
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    Trained by state or local police, not the Feds. Why get all tied up in paperwork.
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    No! What we need are more effective handling of bullies and more mental health personnel to help those that are bullied or have other serious issues. Seems to me a lot of the problems begin with those being bullied. Those who bully should be immediately held responsible and punished accordingly. Too often, these bullies just get to walk away with a slap on the hand and the person bullied either kills himself or other students. Bullies need to have mental health assessments, harsh penalties, or kicked out of school, if they continue to bully. Personally. I say have the NRA pay for it! And while we’re at it, can you tell me how the hell the NRA is considered tax exempt? Please, let’s stop this tax exempt status for ANY political or religious organizations. They have no right to favor any political party, if they are tax exempt. Period. Yet, they are. The only way to stop it is to take tax exempt status from all except the TRULY charitable organizations. Too many are saving hundreds of thousands of precious tax dollars, while possibly laundering money through them! Please, Dems, put a stop to this ASAP! Amen!
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    House bill H.R. 7209 AKA— the School Resource Officer Act of 2018 I’m in full support of and recommend the passage of this House bill H.R. 7209 AKA— the School Resource Officer Act of 2018 — would authorize the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program in the Department of Justice (DOJ) at $300 million each year from 2019-2022. Of this money, 30 percent of the funds are designated to pay for School Resource Officers’ (SROs) salaries and benefits. When used for SROs, COPS funds could be used to provide up to 75 percent of the salary and benefits for full-time school resource officers (SROs), with a 25 percent minimum local cash match requirement. The maximum federal share of each officer’s pay is $125,000 a year. School resource officers help make schools safer by maintaining calm learning environments through deterring acts of violence and standing ready to respond should something transpire. Funding the DOJ’s COPS program, which helps local law enforcement hire SROs, will put these valuable resources into more schools. SneakyPete........ 👍🏻👮🏽‍♀️👮🏼‍♂️👍🏻. 12*30*18.......
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    No. Some states would abuse the funding. For example California would likely have the Resource Officers teaching transgender inclusion classes instead of patrolling the hallways.
    Like (11)
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    Rather than militarizing schools and treating students as potential criminals, we should spend money on mental health and bullying, sense most the killings in our schools are kids that have been bullied and have mental health issues. School need more money to help identify and help these kids. Most of the killers in America have been followers of hate groups.
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    Fund schools instead.
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    No police in public schools, period. This only serves to criminalize children.
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    Foreign classrooms are safer and higher educated than ours and they spend a lot less money. Why? Our federal Gov’t is broke! The public schools have lost their Judean-Christian foundation and turned into secular progressive government indoctrination centers. Thats why their unsafe and kids today commit more suicide than ever.
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    Get the fed out of the schools.
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    Absolutely not. Our kids need more qualified teachers, books, computers and other school resources and better facilities. We don’t need a resource officer. Mr. Congressman if you have any balls, you can stand up to NRA who is funded by Russia to make sure there is more guns and red necks in our society and our society as divided as possible. Mr. Congressman, stop all this shit and do something to protect our democracy that is being sold off by our president. I do t our society to become a police state.
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