Phoenix Union committee to recommend return of school resource officers

Mar 31, 2023, 4:05 AM | Updated: 6:49 pm

(AP File Photo/Joshua Poulson)...

(AP File Photo/Joshua Poulson)

(AP File Photo/Joshua Poulson)

PHOENIX – A Valley school district student safety committee plans to recommend the return of police to campuses but with stipulations.

In a five-hour meeting Wednesday, the Phoenix Union High School District safety committee members settled on what they will propose to the district governing board on April 13.

The safety committee suggested any potential intergovernmental agreement made with Phoenix include:

• Selecting officers without a history of disciplinary actions.
• Training in nonviolent tactics when working with youth.
• Consistency in which officers are assigned to campuses.
• Officers are not to participate in school discipline.
• Phoenix Union has the power to hire, remove and train officers and hold them accountable.
• Funding for SROs should not come from teacher or staff budget.
• Yearly review of the agreement.

“In addition to that, we also came up with a pretty robust list of ways to beef up the district’s existing wraparound social services,” committee chair Katie Gipson-McLean told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Thursday.

The district, which oversees 23 schools, eliminated Phoenix resource officers starting in 2021.

By February 2023 the district asked for community input on the role of police at schools.

“We can make these recommendations and the district could even make these recommendations in [the agreement] and the city of Phoenix could decide they don’t want to agree to those terms,” McLean said. “Who knows where we’ll end up?”

The committee made up of teachers, staff, parents, students, alumni and community members met every two weeks over the past seven months, McLean said.

“It’s in the board’s hands,” she said.

The board may or may not vote on the proposal at the meeting, McLean added.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Griselda Zetino contributed to this report.

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Phoenix Union committee to recommend return of school resource officers