Arlington Public Schools looking into reducing presence of school resource officers

Arlington Public Schools may no longer have school resource offices, or SRO's, after the superintendent recommended removing them from school buildings at a school board meeting Thursday night.

Dr. Francisco Duran said at the meeting that APS will continue its relationship with Arlington County Police, but will reimagine the SRO program.

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Duran says he is not calling to eliminate the program altogether but wants to make sure SRO's do not have a permanent onsite presence in schools.

For example, SRO's would not be involved in disciplining students and would be placed offsite. However, they would still be in close proximity and would be utilized for emergencies or when law enforcement is needed.

Many of these recommendations came from an SRO work group that has been meeting weekly since December, talking with students, faculty and law enforcement about SRO programs.

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The group also recommended changing the name SRO to juvenile response group or youth resource officer, implementing long-term school discipline and training standards and increasing school counseling and mental health staff.

Rethinking the role of the police and school resource officers is something many are seeing across the country, and even in the DMV.

Earlier this month, Montgomery County approved a police budget that also placed SRO's off school campuses and into other parts of the community.

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FOX 5 reached out to the Arlington Police Department who declined an interview, but said in a statement:

"ACPD is committed to working collaboratively with APS as we review the SRO workgroup recommendations and find a solution that benefits all." 

The school board will vote on these recommendations later this month.