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Arizona lawmaker’s tweet leads to new training for school resource officers

(Facebook Photo/ Alma Hernandez)

PHOENIX — School resource officers are getting special training, and it’s due in part to a tweet by a state lawmaker.

State Rep. Alma Hernandez (D-Tucson) said she sent Gov. Doug Ducey a tweet during his State of the State address in January, saying she was 14 years old when she was “brutally attacked” by a school resource officer who “was there to ‘keep me safe.’”

She added that more school counselors were needed, rather than more resource officers, to keep students safe.

“That’s how it all started,” Hernandez said. “After that tweet, I heard from the governor’s office.”

Ducey’s staff asked to meet with her to hear about her encounter with the SRO. They also asked her to share her story with the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board.

Hernandez said she believes her story led to school resource officers now having to undergo new training on de-escalation and crisis intervention with students.

“I don’t want anyone else to have to go through what I went through,” she said.

Hernandez was a freshman in high school when two seniors started fighting with her. She said the school’s resource officer was called but only made matters worse.

“Instead of breaking up the fight and helping, especially me since I’m the one who was attacked, he actually did quite the opposite and ended up brutally attacking me outside of the high school,” she said, adding that the SRO dragged her and slammed her on the ground.

As a result of the incident, Hernandez said she suffered severe spinal and nerve damage that still affects her today.

“There are days where I struggle, and it all is because of what happened to me when I was 14 years old,” she said.

Hernandez said she believes if the SRO in her high school would’ve had training on how to handle the situation, “that would’ve never happened to me.”

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