Bowser reaffirms stance on SROs in DC schools

After Wednesday's shooting outside IDEA Charter School in Northeast, Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee III was asked if he thought School Resource Officers could have helped deter the situation.

"I think that incidents like this really underscores the importance of having our school resource officers who are able to really interact with young people in the schools, and understand when we have disputes that happen," Contee said.

Metropolitan police discovered that one student tried to walk into the IDEA school but wasn’t wearing the proper uniform. That student declined the school’s offer of clothes to put him back in school, and left. 

Two other students then declined to go through a magnetometer. 

Outside the school, moments later, the 15-year-old who declined to walk through the magnetometer shot the other two.

Earlier this year, D.C. Council voted to phase school resource officers out of schools during the budget process. 

This school year, 60 officers are splitting time between the District’s schools, which will reduce by 20 each year until there are none in 2025.

Mayor Muriel Bowser is on record as wanting resource officers in schools. Despite signing off on the budget, she says she still wants them in the buildings.

"My record is clear on needing trusted, known officers in buildings that administrators can count on, and my position hasn’t changed," Bowser said Thursday night.

When asked why she signed off on a budget without SROs, Bowser said, "It’s part of a $20 billion budget."

There is community support for removing school resource officers. 

FOX 5 spoke with Ceon DuBose and Samantha Davis, advocates with a group called Black Swan Academy which advocates for removing officers from schools and bolstering community services elsewhere to help students.

"We are in alignment with people who are calling for safety. Right? We believe in true safety, and what we are trying to push when we call for police-free schools is not just the divestment of police from schools, but also the investment in all of the resources we know truly prevent violence from happening, that truly de-escalate, that truly build relationships," Davis said.

Contee acknowledged Wednesday that stopping violence is a collaborative effort in communities.