Des Moines School Board Addressing Removal of School Resource Officers

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(Des Moines, IA) -- The Des Moines School Board is fielding concerns from the public after the board removed School Resource Officers from schools back in February.

"Behavior is getting worse. The fights are getting worse. We all know this. My concern is that we took out one problem and caused another," said Amber Dawn.

Dawn is one of the parents in the school system calling for the return of SRO's, but some students are reminding the board why it was removed in the first place.

"Not only did data from DNPS and the Department of Human Right highlight that students of color had more interactions with SRO's, which led to disproportionate arrests than their white peers, but student lived experiences show how hostile, unhelpful, and problematic SRO's are in schools," said Lauren Benson.

Benson is one of the students calling attention to how studies have shown SRO's disproportionately, negatively impact the lives of students of color.

Since the removal of SRO's from the school district in February, surveys show the number of students who feel safe in schools have dropped.

According to surveys taken by the school district, in the fall of 2020, 58-percent of students felt safe in schools, which dropped to 50-percent in the fall of 2021.

The school board did not vote on anything at the meeting, but will make some decisions the next time this topic is discussed.

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