School safety task force focuses on integrating officers, social workers in Arizona schools

Aug 2, 2023, 8:00 PM

Tom Horne...

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne. (Tome Horne for Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Facebook page)

(Tome Horne for Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Facebook page)

PHOENIX — Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne held the first School Safety Task Force meeting Wednesday,  the Arizona Department of Education announced.

The meeting’s focus was to get more armed school resource officers and social workers in schools. AZED also discussed expanding its role in Career and Technical Education by encouraging students to consider law enforcement as a profession.

In May, the Arizona State Board of Education approved funding that would provide SROs to 301 campuses.

Nearly $100 million in funding comes from a combination of state and federal grants.

“I am grateful for all of the educators, law enforcement professionals, community leaders and both Democrat and Republican elected officials who have come together in this vital, bipartisan effort,” Horne said in a press release.

Although more officers are being added to campuses, the task force acknowledged the need for additional counselors and social workers to address staffing shortages.

The group will also explore ways to integrate counselors and social workers into an effective school safety program.

It looks to expand the definition of an SRO in accordance with state certification requirements so the applicant pool can increase, the press release stated.

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School safety task force focuses on integrating officers, social workers in Arizona schools