HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Schools throughout the country are looking for ways to make schools safer.
In Connecticut, local leaders are looking to do that without increasing school resource officers. A press conference will be held here at the capital later today to discuss ways to improve the educational system — through community and care.
The Connecticut Voices for Children is an organization focused on improving the well-being of children and families, specifically those that have been historically disadvantaged.
Research by the group determined that there is no evidence that school resource officers make schools safer.
However, schools with SROs have more arrests and more expulsions than schools without these officers. The organization said the pandemic, situations and police brutality and other national issues have traumatized students.
Instead of hiring more SROs, the organization and other leaders say more funding needs to go towards mental and behavioral health programs for kids.
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) is not scheduled to appear at Wednesday’s press conference, but he has been vocal in opposing the use of school resource officers.
“We’ve seen Black and Latino students be arrested in schools at a rate 6x that of white students,” Murphy said.
The senator has said that technological advancements can assist schools in ensuring that only the right people are getting into school buildings. Murphy believes that schools need more counselors, social workers, and other behavioral health personnel to support students and create a positive and safe school climate, whereas the data has shown that additional police in schools often result in the criminalization of students, particularly students of color and students with disabilities.
The press conference is set to begin at 11:30 a.m. News 8 will stream it live on this page.