School District makes wrong call on campus police officer | Our View
Last updated 5/16/2019 at Noon
The Edmonds School District’s decision to acquiesce to a minority of parents and shelve a plan for a full-time school resource officer at Scriber Lake High School was a miscalculation and defeat for common sense.
The decision was made even more egregious because parents who expressed concern about the SRO at a school district meeting came from Edmonds Heights K-12, which shares the former Woodway High School campus with Scriber Lake.
Scriber Lake is the only articulated high school in the district without an armed, specially trained police officer on campus. Edmonds-Woodway, Meadowdale, Mountlake Terrace and Lynnwood all have officers present.
It’s the way of the world today.
But at a school board meeting last month, one Edmonds Heights parent said an armed police officer might be traumatizing to special needs students, as well as students of color.
Scriber Lake does indeed serve many at-risk and special-needs students. But does a small group of parents from another school speak for all of them?
Edmonds Heights parents many of whose students are home-schooled say they have been trained in active-shooter drills. And Edmonds Heights K-8 students need parental supervision when they are on campus.
But here’s a thought: An overriding concern of any SRO is not to be the heavy, the bad guy, the rogue cop. In fact, SROs are responsible for promoting safety, security and a positive learning environment. They work closely with parents, teachers, administrators, students, community members and police staff.
They are there to make connections with students.
As SROs have offices and are visible to students, they are charged with creating an environment where students can learn to feel comfortable interacting with police. That contact might be a student’s first introduction to a sworn police officer, and it’s hopefully a positive one.
Greg Schwab, district assistant superintendent for middle and high schools, told the Beacon last week the district wants to collect additional input from both Scriber Lake and Edmonds Heights students. Open houses are planned.
But Schwab admitted that the school district’s position is that the SRO model is critically important to school security, especially for its larger campus, which the former Woodway High is.
But the district, in an attempt to mollify a few parents, caved, instead of doing the right thing.
Now, instead of building relationships, student lives could be in danger when the new school year begins in the fall.
We don’t have to remind you that school shootings at every level, from elementary school to college are epidemic in the United States.
Thirteen this year already.
Shooting can happen anywhere, including in Edmonds.
The Edmonds School District should proceed with its plan for a school resource officer at Scriber Lake.
For the children. And the parents.