Alternate options to SROs

Home Invoice 873 is essential laws. It intends to handle violent pupil behaviors by hiring college useful resource officers to make sure security, and forestall truancy and violence in colleges.

Nonetheless, analysis reveals SROs usually are not solely ineffective, however additionally they are likely to escalate delinquent behaviors and disproportionately impression deprived communities. SROs additional discriminate towards Black and brown college students, introduce them to the authorized system at an earlier age and contribute to the persevering with school-to-prison pipeline.

Proof-based interventions can be utilized as options to SROs. These embody psychological well being assist, socio-emotional studying, trauma-informed applications, mum or dad and household engagement, peace schooling, battle decision and restorative justice, and extra.

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Psychological well being professionals comparable to scientific social employees and psychologists have already got been skilled to carry out these interventions. Nonetheless, HB 873 states there must be not less than three pupil assist positions (comparable to nurses, social employees and psychologists) for each 1,000 college students. This ratio doesn’t cowl the necessity for psychological well being and behavioral intervention companies.

Funds for SROs as an alternative must be used to rent extra college social employees, psychiatric nurses and psychologists. An alternative choice could be hiring SROs solely after they’ve acquired coaching in psychological well being, trauma-informed, trauma-focused, restorative justice, household engagement and different practices. SROs additionally ought to assist psychologists, social employees and psychiatric nurses in circumstances the place college students are unable to manage their behaviors after psychological well being interventions have been applied.

The price of having college students undergo the prison justice system or drop out of highschool — danger components for worse psychological and bodily well being outcomes — will lead to extra future bills for Virginia. To cut back violent behaviors in colleges and hold college students’ well-being in thoughts, it’s crucial that faculty boards and policymakers change how the SRO coverage is applied.

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