Alexandria City Council votes to reallocate school resource officer funds towards mental health services

Virginia

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WDVM) — The Alexandria City Council voted to reallocate funding from the school resource officer (SRO) program at Alexandria City Public Schools.

At a virtual meeting Tuesday night, board members heard from citizens saying school resource officer funds would be better spent on mental health resources.

The council discussed reallocating the nearly $790,000 dollar SRO funding to add mental health resources to the school system, such as staffing for the school’s teen wellness center.

The decision stems from eliminating potential racism towards students in the near future, following national trends in regards to police brutality. Councilman John Chapman said it’s up to Alexandria City Public Schools to lead the effort towards positive change.

“In other jurisdictions where this has been successful, the school board has taken the leadership to do this, to pull SRO’s out of schools, to re-imagine what public safety within their school looks like,” said Chapman.

Students of color also spoke out on the issue, with one high school student saying black and brown children have felt uncomfortable with the surveillance of officers throughout the years.

The proposal requires an implementation plan from the police and the school system which will be presented by July.

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