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Advocates, legislators call for school resource officers to be replaced with trained counselors

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Charlie Neibergall
Police entering a school in Des Moines.

Connecticut advocates are calling for the removal of school resource officers from schools.

They say the police officers do not make schools safer, but rather increase the likelihood of arrests and expulsions, specifically for Black and Latinx students.

The Connecticut Black and Brown Student Union joined the Community First Coalition and Sen. Gary Winfield in calling for a system that relies on counselors — not police officers.

“There's no reason why the good stuff that they do cannot be done by other folks,” Winfield said. “So that bill is going to open up a conversation about just that.”

Nicole Broadus is the organizing manager at Hearing Youth Voices. She said non-violent interventions must become the standard in Connecticut.

“As a former employee of the Connecticut school system, I have seen the impact of police encounters with students, none of which have deterred, prevented or resolved any of the issues our students are facing,” Broadus said. “I have listened to the stories from students about interactions with police in their building. And they describe it as unsafe, intimidating and unjust.”

Proposed legislation in the state General Assembly would direct funding to counselors instead of school resource officers. Supporters say this would be safer and more effective for students.

Molly is a reporter covering Connecticut. She also produces Long Story Short, a podcast exploring public policy issues across Connecticut.