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house Bill H.R. 916

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.

Mitch's Opinion
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03/23/2019
Hell yes. It’s not only for safety, it’s for peace of mind. When the bad guys know that there are people with guns in an area they avoid these areas. The thing that we all cannot see is how many situations that guns saved people.
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Chadwick's Opinion
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03/24/2019
They can receive firearms and other training to help protect during and see the signs leading up to and prevent school shootings. The training can be the same for all officers nationwide and come from Secret Service or the FBI.
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Sharon's Opinion
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03/24/2019
Clearly the GUN Nuts are a big problem. They can’t police themselves and they’re killing mass #’s of people everyday. NO OTHER COUNTRY HAS THIS PROBLEM. We just have a bad bunch. Not all are bad, hell, I’m a Gun owner, but I don’t fondle it, kiss it, dream about it or polish it every night. We have an epidemic. I don’t care what a single one of them say. Collect ALL ASSAULT WEAPONS. Arrange Visa’s for those that must fondle, kiss, Dream, & Polish! Get them the f-ck out of our COUNTRY! HOW MANY HAVE TO DIE! You stupid republican greedy ass Bastards are afraid like little Babies of the NRA. If you don’t have other donors, that’s on your stupid Ass. Hand in your assault rifles or leave. Pay to get them out of here, but get these Nut jobs out of here! I had 1 dumb Nut Job send me a pic of the Towers Falling and quoted “they couldn’t even protect us from this!” Well you could’ve shot at those 767’s all day long and that little gun of yours wouldn’t do you a damn bit of good. DO SOMETHING! 93% of Americans want GUN LAWS CHANGED! Quit PANDERING TO THE IDIOTS & THE NRA
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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.

burrkitty's Opinion
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03/23/2019
How about we give it to the teachers for their classrooms? Or the schools for new playground equipment? I can think of literally 100 better things in schools to spend the money on then turning our schools into militarized prisons.
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Kodiwodi's Opinion
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03/23/2019
No. They really ought to try funding education first. They aren’t doing such a hot job at that, before they militarize school campuses. Or maybe they could work on gun laws so “resource officers” aren’t necessary. Add counselors and mental health resources.
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IllWill's Opinion
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03/23/2019
There’s no reason to have police officers in our schools. This only helps further drive the school-to-prison pipeline. How about we use this money to raise teachers’ salaries!
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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
      house Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security
    IntroducedJanuary 30th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 916?

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 2020-2023. 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. 916

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) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress 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.

In the current Congress, this bill has the support of 14 bipartisan cosponsors, including 13 Republicans and one Democrat. Last Congress, it had the support of eight cosponsors, including seven Republicans and two Democrats, and didn't receive a committee vote.


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 2019

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.

    Hell yes. It’s not only for safety, it’s for peace of mind. When the bad guys know that there are people with guns in an area they avoid these areas. The thing that we all cannot see is how many situations that guns saved people.
    Like (49)
    Follow
    Share
    How about we give it to the teachers for their classrooms? Or the schools for new playground equipment? I can think of literally 100 better things in schools to spend the money on then turning our schools into militarized prisons.
    Like (128)
    Follow
    Share
    No. They really ought to try funding education first. They aren’t doing such a hot job at that, before they militarize school campuses. Or maybe they could work on gun laws so “resource officers” aren’t necessary. Add counselors and mental health resources.
    Like (84)
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    Share
    There’s no reason to have police officers in our schools. This only helps further drive the school-to-prison pipeline. How about we use this money to raise teachers’ salaries!
    Like (65)
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    This is just one more example of the federal government trying to do a job that can be handled perfectly well at the local level. Damn, People, how will we ever get a balanced budget if you keep looking for problems to solve with federal dollars?
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    We need to fund education and place reasonable checks on the use of firearms, on the dealers who sell them and on the proliferation of military-style guns and ammunition. Please do not support this bill.
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    Every time the federal government pays for something (with taxes from our earnings) they attach all kinds of qualifiers that is erode local control. This is a local matter for local people to control. Tax us less at the federal level and we’ll have more money at the local level to deal with these issues as we see fit for communities.
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    I prefer that the legislative branch pass and enforce gun control laws for the type of military weapons being used to take the lives of our children and all innocent people. Any funding could be used to educate all citizens on the intent of the second amendment ( Citizens do have the right to own guns. AK-47’s, machine guns, and the vast variety of military guns are not necessary. ), to provide services for the emotionally and mentally challenged, to install security systems in school, to provide teachers with the educational supplies and tools they need, and to pay teachers decent salaries. As Americans, we are all better than the low bar that has been set for respect, tolerance, integrity, and just plain old decency. Life is precious! We can do better than living in a “police state”.
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    No guns in our schools!!
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    Absolutely NOT! BAN WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION INSTEAD! AS WELL AS STRICTER BACKGROUND CHECKS. Much better solution...
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    With what money? They are trillions in debt. No “funding” anything else. Massive cuts are in order and long overdue. Nothing in the constitution authorizes the federal government to be involved in education at all. It’s entirely a state issue. Abolish the NEA and the department of indoctrination (er, I mean “education”). They are unconstitutional. In fact, abolish public school entirely. Parents, if you really love your children and want them to be educated, home school them or send them to private school. The private sector does it better!
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    They can receive firearms and other training to help protect during and see the signs leading up to and prevent school shootings. The training can be the same for all officers nationwide and come from Secret Service or the FBI.
    Like (11)
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    This should be left to the state, just like education should be left to the state.
    Like (10)
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    I would rather see stricter gun control legislation. How many more tragedies do we have to suffer before we take the action New Zealand has taken after just one incident? Let’s ban assault weapons, and weapon enhancements such as oversized clips and armor piercing rounds. Let’s also have a reasonable waiting period, and proper background checks. Lets require that people get a license for which they must pass a basic gun safety test, and require that parents with children prove they have a decent gun safe adequate to hold all their firearms. And finally, let’s call opponents of this kind of thing out in public as being in favor of mass murder and school shootings. So far, hopes and prayers have done nothing about this problem, so clearly anyone who promotes *that* as some kind of solution is either an idiot or doesn’t actually want to solve the problem. Let’s *actually* make schools safer by getting some of the gunpowder of the environment. Let’s stop accepting the weak ass argument that “this won’t fix the problem %100”. This kind of legislation would be worth it if it reduced the problem by *any* amount. If it saved even *one* life, it would be a success. And don’t try and tell me none of this would work at all; other countries have done similar things and they all got a lot safer. Let’s have the moral courage to stand up to the gun lobby, and do the right thing.
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    What we need is SANE GUN REGULATION, not cops in schools! REAL, COMPREHENSIVE background checks without loopholes! This is a no-brainer!
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    There are better approaches to keeping schools safe - address gun restrictions laws and radicalization of young men with gun and violence prone propaganda.
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    While I believe these officers are needed, this is not a federal responsibility.
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    No way School Resource Officer Funding... A State Responsibility 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. SneakyPete......... 👎🏻👎🏻👎🏻👎🏻. 3*23*19..........
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    Schools need counselors, support staff. Helping children with emotional issues and their parents is the correct path to go. Better background checks and get rid of the AR-15. New Zealand did it one week, but the US, supposedly the greatest country try
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    Cops and guns are not what our schools need! What about counselors and well- paid teachers?
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