Op-Ed: School Board Should Not Remove San Marcos Safety Officer

108 Comments
Reads 6787

By Rosanne Crawford

Public comments continued to come in at the Santa Barbara Unified School District board meeting on 10/26 that included Sherif Bill Brown, A Ventura District Attorney and students and parents that have started petitions on their campus.

Recently,  action agenda item 7 on the 10/12/21 School Board meeting was set for approval of the contract with the School Resource Deputy. A School Resource Deputy is a sworn Law enforcement officer responsible for safety and crime prevention in schools.  For Agenda and documents attachments see  https://go.boarddocs.com/ca/sbunified/Board.nsf/Public

Unexpectedly, however, Superintendent Maldonado however took the Board in a different direction and made a special request to change the action 7 from approval of the contract to a discussion item. The president of the Board Kate Ford granted the request.   What was even more unprecedented was after discussion and comments  they changed it back to an action item.

The entire youtube of the meeting is  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfX4JICaEHM Buffer to the time towards the end of the meeting at  4:18:59 thru 6:04:56 for this item to hear discussion details.

The reversal was questioned by the astute Student Board representative who stated that public comments of some invited groups were opposite of what he had been hearing from his constituents who are students on the campus and asked that it be postponed so others could be included in the discussion.

The board however unanimously decided to go against the prior motion to approve the placement and funding of a School Resource Deputy ( SRD) at San Marcos High School for the 2021-2022 school year. (Source: Independent)

One of the strongest statements in this article was: “There is just not enough evidence that a [School Resource Officer] prevents gun violence,” Board Member Laura Capps said. “It’s not something I can support going forward.”

The security officer had been put in place because of an increase in violence and drug use on campus as well as increased incidences of cyber bullying and sexual misconduct. Since 2016 there had been a 41% increase of weapon related offences. (Source: Noozhawk)

Only weeks ago a San Marcos tennis coach and physics teacher was arrested at school after the juvenile male victim reported the incident to local law enforcement. (Source: Independent)

In March 2019, a Goleta man was charged with multiple felonies of child molestation and pornography after the investigation of a case which began when San Marcos High school was notified  the student victim had reported to the School Resource Officer that the individual was attempting communications of a sexual matter. (Source: Noozhawk)

What you can do

Email your opinion to the Superintendent and Board members.

 Superintendent Maldonado    hmaldonado@sbunified.org
Kate Ford President of board   kford@sbunified.org
Rose Munoz Vice President      rmunoz@sbunified.org
   Wendy Sims-Moten       wsims-moten@sbunified.org
   Virginia Alvarez           valvarez@sbunified.org
       Laura Capps       lcapps@sbunified.org
Student Board member Dawson Kelly  studentboardmember@sbunified.org
Op-Ed's are written by community members. Do you have an opinion on something local? Share it with us at ed@edhat.com. The views and opinions expressed in Op-Ed articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of edhat.
Login to add Comments

108 Comments

Show Comments
Ahchooo Oct 28, 2021 01:28 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Should Not Remove San Marcos Safety Officer

One needs to look at specific misbehavior and see whether that behavior is punished equally across races. Seems to me there is data showing that (statistically, not in all cases) if a black kid and a white kid do the same bad thing, the white kid is more likely to get off easy. Looking at arrest numbers does not necessarily indicate actual numbers of crimes committed.

MarcelK Oct 28, 2021 02:11 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Should Not Remove San Marcos Safety Officer

"maybe they commit more crimes."

Maybe not. Maybe people inclined to believe the former are ______s.

"Just because one race was arrested more than another, doesn't mean they were targeted."

Numerous studies have documented bias, intentional or otherwise. For instance, the disparity between black and white traffic stops declines at night when it's harder to see. There's a large disparity for job applications with identical content when submitted with black-sounding names (or female). Music auditions behind screens reduce disparity. And on and on.

letmego Oct 28, 2021 02:21 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Should Not Remove San Marcos Safety Officer

GER8T, from what I can see, anecdotally on the web (meaning, on the various facebook pages dedicated to local education, local children, local moms)...it is overwhelmingly the white mothers and fathers who question this decision and want to keep the SRO. Many of the people speaking against SROs are Hispanic/Latino. I'd say that I have seen an equal number of people speaking for and against having an SRO at the school.

dukemunson Oct 28, 2021 02:50 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Should Not Remove San Marcos Safety Officer

GT - We're talking about Santa Barbara schools here...so go have your "national debate" somewhere else. One can see countless good and helpful reasons to have a trained officer on the San Marcos campus. It's a deterrent and a help. We can talk about additional training and make sure we're very careful with who that officer is, but the logic is obvious and overwhelmingly sound to have an officer present and available on large campuses.

ZeroHawk Oct 28, 2021 04:56 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Should Not Remove San Marcos Safety Officer

380, its an issue bc people like you make it an issue. stop talking about some states and this and that. we are in santa barbara california and that is where this topic is focused. Let's see where your data comes from please. Source? Nation wide, right? Again, that doesn't matter here. We focus on whats happening on OUR campuses, not a campus in Illinois or Indiana...>FFS

GeneralTree Oct 28, 2021 05:11 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Should Not Remove San Marcos Safety Officer

Blah, blah blah isn't really an argument. SRO's in schools IS a national topic actually. More reason not to have SRO's here if the enforcement is brutal and enforcement is focused unequally on people of color seeing they are the majority.

sacjon Oct 28, 2021 05:24 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Should Not Remove San Marcos Safety Officer

GT - so are you saying they're only putting SROs in schools with large black populations? How do explain SB, SM and DP here in town? Are you saying only 33% of schools with "all white" populations have SROs? And 54%? So what? That means half the high schools with a large black population DO NOT have SROs. How is that evidence of racism? I am EXTREMELY against racism (look at any of my comments), but I don't think this is evidence that SROs are an instrument of racist policies.

SROs are there to protect our kids. Once again, I ask, who will save students during a life-threatening medical situation? Who will deter fights and weapons on campus? Who will intervene and stop said fights? Who will know how to handle a drug overdose? Who will be able to shoot back in the case of a school shooting? Asking parents or teachers to take on the role of a trained police officer is putting our kids at risk. Sure, many SROs have abused their authority, but we can't just throw them all out. The benefit outweighs the risk in my opinion. That's all there is to it.

GeneralTree Oct 28, 2021 05:57 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Should Not Remove San Marcos Safety Officer

Sac "GT - so are you saying they're only putting SROs in schools with large black populations?" I'm done here - I don't think you've read or digested anything I've posted. I was never posting to convince you of anything - only to have a conversation. I know you are extremely against racism and have gotten that from previous posts over a long period of time so no need to explain. However - saying "who's going to keep us safe" and enabling a racist/biased system to continue isn't an option for me. I've always thought rather than paying a resource officer to be stationed just outside the school (front steps even). Call the officer in for the situations you are talking about. Nurses and other trained in certain issues should be inside the school. Include the parental community more in the schools (which is why I brought up the Dad's group" No one wants to fund anything for schools anyway. They can't even afford pencils or art supplies - most shop classes they offered when I was in school are gone across the country. Schools don't have any money and no one seems to really care about education and our schools. Lot's of folks have opinions about it but many don't want to actually fund it. Could we at least agree here we each want is best for our children even though our opinons may differ? Have a good night Sacjohn.

dukemunson Oct 29, 2021 12:38 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Should Not Remove San Marcos Safety Officer

You are calling the support for the presence of a safety officer in schools of 2000 plus 14-18 year olds "self righteous far right extremist"...? OK!!! Your thought process on this is an off-shoot of the "defund the police" crowd, which obviously IS the extremist point of view.

sacjon Oct 28, 2021 12:03 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Should Not Remove San Marcos Safety Officer

"“There is just not enough evidence that a [School Resource Officer] prevents gun violence,”" - how do you know how many attacks/altercations have been deterred by the presence of a resource officer on campus? This same logic is applied, conversely, in favor of DUI checkpoints. You say they deter drunk drivers, yet how do you know? Same here, you can't say cops on campus don't prevent gun violence, and then turn around and say the absence of DUIs is due to checkpoints.

If you have a crappy resource officer, do better at hiring, don't just fire them all. Who is going to break up gang fights? Stop drug deals in their tracks? Save victims of medical emergencies? Help students in need who may not feel comfortable going to the police station? If seeing a police officer on campus distresses you, then private school and a gated community is where you should be. Real life can be dangerous, so can school, even in SB/Goleta.

GeneralTree Oct 28, 2021 12:10 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Should Not Remove San Marcos Safety Officer

Sac you can look up the false arrest, pepper spraying 9-year-old's, arresting 6 year olds - even shootings that SRO's have been involved with all over the country. Across the country they are criminalizing children.

GeneralTree Oct 28, 2021 12:42 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Should Not Remove San Marcos Safety Officer

Sac - One time a SRO saves girl's life during an accidental OD and that is your argument for placing SRO's in schools all across the country? Numerous incidents with SRO's. Especially with people of color being arrested. Even young children being arrested, tazed, and gassed. I'm unsure why you are getting upset - google the studies and research on SRO's - not a lot of evidence in favor.

GeneralTree Oct 28, 2021 01:52 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Should Not Remove San Marcos Safety Officer

SAC I'm talking about High School too. But, there are SRO's in grade schools as well. Not sure why you are upset about a different opinion on resource officers. In the old days people used to have discussions. Now parents threaten school boards if they don't like the decisions. There's plenty of data on High School arrests as well - but I'm surprised that a parent wouldn't be concerned that young children are being arrested for minor inconveniences. High school students have been literally arrested for being autistic. A high-school girl who refuses to follow school rules is body-slammed to the ground, ripped from her chair, and thrown past rows of desks. The most common complaint is disorderly conduct - why do you need someone with a gun and little training with kids policing "disorderly conduct." The debate about whether to have SRO's or not is happening all over the country and there are many, many articles and studies on the subject.

MarcelK Oct 28, 2021 02:02 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Should Not Remove San Marcos Safety Officer

"“There is just not enough evidence that a [School Resource Officer] prevents gun violence,”" - how do you know how many attacks/altercations have been deterred by the presence of a resource officer on campus? " -- Once again SacJon fails basic logic. "there's not enough evidence to conclude P" does not mean that we can conclude "not P". And as for "you can't say cops on campus don't prevent gun violence, and then turn around and say the absence of DUIs is due to checkpoints." -- there is no one person who has said those two things.

SoCalMommy Oct 28, 2021 12:56 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Should Not Remove San Marcos Safety Officer

Parents/Community Members: Please continue to keep up with the goings-on at SBUSD and get involved. There is a lot of information coming to light lately, and we need people to speak up and let the Board know that we are not blind to their actions. We need accountability and transparency. The decision not to renew the contract with the SRO is just a drop in the bucket! Please attend the Board meetings - they are bi-weekly on Tuesdays and the next meeting is 11/9 at 5:30. 720 Santa Barbara Street.

a-1635458071 Oct 28, 2021 02:54 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Should Not Remove San Marcos Safety Officer

Students hosted a large rally and protest last year and advocated to remove all law enforcement from all campuses as they felt unsafe with them there. Don't the students have a say in their educational environment? The school board is following what the students asked for, seems fair to me.

winter Oct 28, 2021 05:52 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Should Not Remove San Marcos Safety Officer

Wow ...all the comments are so angry.
I had two kids there, 10 years ago...
That's about the time they had the first, resource officer.
The kids loved him...
There was a lot of tension, on campus..
I volunteered there a few days a week.
We came from the East Coast...no crime, small town.
Fights, with girls, in the lunchroom, in the halls, were common.
The boys were the same..
This resource officer helped diffuse all that.
He was not threatening, in any way...

sbdude Oct 28, 2021 06:14 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Should Not Remove San Marcos Safety Officer

My kids went to DP and the SRO there (Hendricks) was one of the most popular adults on campus. I hear they are curculating a student-led petition to keep him, which has already gotten many hundreds of signatures. I cannot speak for SMHS or SBHS though. Students, who's safety is at stake, are major stakeholders here and for the board to ignore them just to make a political statement is inexcusable.

SBLetsGetAlong Oct 28, 2021 06:34 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Should Not Remove San Marcos Safety Officer

Does SB Schools report assault & sexual crimes that occur in school?
Other districts around the country don’t have to report these crimes & they have no onsite RO.

Seems like they are encouraging bad behavior just like the CA criminal system?

GrammaSB Oct 28, 2021 07:52 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Should Not Remove San Marcos Safety Officer

Removing the resource officer will encourage unlawful bad behavior. Students shouldn't be making decisions for the adults. The day some tragedy occurs ad law enforcement is delayed in arriving hen it'll turn into a should've could've would'vetgen it will be TOO LATE! The people in charge of decisions need a reality check there are active gangs all over Santa Barbara Schools in most instances the resource officers can befriend them and gain knowledge into their real lives and possibly save these individuals from falling deeper, As a grandmother with grandkids in the school district I am in favor of their presence for their safety! School Board use your degrees and education for heavens sake GOOD Ol COMMON SENSE! If my tax dollars are used towards safety of children that's great but for LACK OF COMMON SENSE Leadership then it's. Awful!

a-1635495688 Oct 29, 2021 01:21 AM
Op-Ed: School Board Should Not Remove San Marcos Safety Officer

Both sides have a point.

But, thank goodness, the negative side is not so active in the bubble, the warm bath, of south Santa Barbara County.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/oct/27/california-school-safety-officer-murder-charges

a-1635496546 Oct 29, 2021 01:35 AM
Op-Ed: School Board Should Not Remove San Marcos Safety Officer

This seems as good a thread as any to share something I just read:

"Bulletproof, a sly, sharp-eyed documentary on US school safety in the era of mass shootings, traces a horrific and absurd status quo. A lockdown drill at an everywhere high school, students crouched under desks, in corners. A tracking badge system for a district in Texas City, Texas, which shows administrators every person’s exact location on campus; a first-grade teacher in Colorado learning to shoot a gun so she can protect her “kiddos”; a department head displaying his district’s 22 AR-15s, since “being in the tactical field myself I understand the importance of superior firepower.” Cut to high-schoolboys playing basketball, a homecoming game, cheerleading practice, banter on the bleachers."
https://www.theguardian.com/film/2021/oct/27/bulletproof-documentary-review-school-shootings

fitz Oct 29, 2021 07:24 AM
Op-Ed: School Board Should Not Remove San Marcos Safety Officer

I'm ok with an unarmed officer who is identifiable (vest, jacket). I taught at the high school level for 35 years. Teachers were expected to keep alert and make a visible presence during passing time. If there was talk of a potential incident, teachers were quietly informed. The dean was the go-to administrator for discipline. I would rather have regular staff serve as mentors and 'eyes and ears' than an armed policeman. Alas, now with social media run amok, it is more difficult to control some of these teenage 'situations'. But, ultimately, the staff should be able to handle this.

NostraChumash Oct 29, 2021 10:13 AM
Op-Ed: School Board Should Not Remove San Marcos Safety Officer

As long as there are bullies, guns, knives, drugs, perv teachers & psycho parents...there should be a well trained, armed officer at every school in america.
That's simply the Nation that we have become.
We need masks because of airborne
(Hoo-aah) illness, 1 in 67 births have autism, then there's politics, climate etc.
We say the children are the future?
Then we must protect them.

Lorax Oct 29, 2021 12:13 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Should Not Remove San Marcos Safety Officer

Sad there are few continuing to post about racial insensitivity however we can certianly agree to disagree.
Safety has nothing to do with racial insensitivity at least here in SB, Law enforcment here have an outstanding record and have allways been active with our schools in a positive way.
I thought we were beond the de fund crap, I guess not with a few.
If you look at the thousands of reads, thoes people are probably voters already commited to over turning the school board next election.

a-1635535320 Oct 29, 2021 12:22 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Should Not Remove San Marcos Safety Officer

@ Lorax, it is really sad that racism is built into every single American institution. We cannot talk about equity if we do not address discrimination and bias. Have you not looked at the news lately? Safety has EVERYTHING to do with race. People of color are disproportionately targeted. Again, it's about that whole systemic racism thing I mentioned at the beginning of comment. I wish the children of color could have equal educations in this country but it's not happening. Look at the research, the statistics, all of the verified data.

sacjon Oct 29, 2021 01:05 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Should Not Remove San Marcos Safety Officer

12:22 - Yes, racism is systemic in this country, but we still need safety and security in our schools. If our cops are behaving (as they have been) and there's been no issues of concern (there hasn't), then why fire them and remove them from our campuses? Deal with the bad ones, don't take the good ones away. Some of these SROs been hugely influential in many students' daily lives, being mentors, confidants, life savers, fight stoppers, etc.

Racism is a real problem, but will removing SROs from high schools do anything to solve it? At what cost? These are things people need to consider. Instead of just cancelling and terminating everything because it might be "offensive" or cause a couple kids some discomfort, why not work to fix it and make it work for everyone? Police serve a purpose, we can't just get rid of them and think "OK, racism is gone, everything will be ok." It doesn't work like that.

a-1635541248 Oct 29, 2021 02:00 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Should Not Remove San Marcos Safety Officer

Sac, I completely see your point of view. It's a POV that we've had for the last 40+ years, but it doesn't seem to be as idyllic as it's portrayed. This is a good article that tackles the topic of how useful are police in schools using data. https://www.aclu-wa.org/story/school-resource-officers-when-cure-worse-disease

"... certain student groups are policed disproportionately. This is the case for students of color who are arrested or referred to law enforcement at significantly higher rates than their white counterparts. Moreover, students with disabilities are arrested or referred to law enforcement nearly three times the rate as their non-disabled peers. School officers are also more likely to use force against these groups. Pepper spray, tasers, pain compliance techniques, use of police batons, hitting, kicking, slamming, and choking are all tactics that have been deemed too harsh for detention facilities, and yet, these tactics are used against students in schools.[10]"

The situations on high school campuses where a badge and firearm are needed are insanely low. But the situations where a counselor or social worker are needed are at all time highs. A school resource officer does not have the training, knowledge, and expertise to deal with tardiness, mental health issues, bad grades, and students that mouth off. How many videos do we have to see of cops choking, tackling, and arresting children for minor things like this? Reform with non-police services, see how it goes, and if it gets worse then fine send a cop back in but the data (and students of color) are saying what's happening now isn't working.

sacjon Oct 29, 2021 02:08 PM
Op-Ed: School Board Should Not Remove San Marcos Safety Officer

2:00PM - "what's happening now isn't working." Have you asked any of the students at DP, SM or SB? This is about THIS district, not the whole country. If inner city schools are having issues, that's up to them. I just don't see the SROs here in SB/Goleta posing that same risk of abuse, nor have I heard/read any news to the contrary. For THIS town, at these schools, they appear to be a benefit.

Pages

Please Login or Register to comment on this.