NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The New Haven Public Schools system is in full preparation mode ahead of Monday’s in-person reopening for high schools in the Elm City, but the number of school resource officers (SRO) available is dwindling.
The New Haven high schools will be allotted three school resource officers. In previous years it was nine, one for each high school in the district.
News 8 has learned the cut back in school resource officers comes from the New Haven Police Department reassessing officer staffing in the midst of a hybrid learning opening.
With an April 5 opening on the horizon, only three school resource officers will be allotted to the schools.
Officials say as classes open to full capacity, the number of officers could be revised.
Something important to note, at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement last year, there was looming pressure by student activists and community members to remove officers from Elm City schools altogether.
“SROs have many functions in the schools with summer camps, as mentors to the students but I could understand that some students feel like they should not be there,” Superintendent Dr. Illene Tracey said.
Dr. Tracey tells News 8 the decision on whether to keep school resource officers will ultimately be voted on by the New Haven Board of Education. But for now, security detail has been assigned to each school with an on-staff security guard and with the usual measures, such as metal detectors.
Dr. Iline Tracey said, “All of the measures that need to be put into place on our side to the best of our ability to ensure the buildings are safe and that there are proper protocols in place.”
Outside of the security officers are each school, New Haven Police will still be responding to any issues at the high schools.
Dr. Tracey added, “The SROs do help in more than one way, they are not there to arrest students; they are there as a deterrence to any type of violence…The majority of parents and families feel more secured with SROs in the building.”
The Board of Education will vote on whether to keep the school resource officer program on April 12.