Cops perceived differently inside the school building

D.C. Council aims to remove them


Photo by Imelda Bislao

The D.C. Council reduced numbers of School Resource Officers in D.C. schools. SROs are trained differently from street cops to work in the schools. “Officers need to be here,’’ Roosevelt sophomore Ethan Anderson said.

The protests against police brutality in the past few years has led to questions about police everywhere, including the use of police officers in schools. The argument is whether they are beneficial for students or if they intimidate, or cause more harm than good. 

In 2020, some School Resource Officers were pulled from DC schools by the city council due to ‘’the climate it created in the school space,” according to a DCist article. By July, 2025 the council will have reduced the number of officers in schools to zero.
The issues concerning officers in general began to affect the outlook people had and influenced more disapproval of the matter. The argument of whether they were a prominent force in schools also was clear. According to ACLU Of Washington, ‘’SRO Officers have not prevented or stopped any mass shootings since the early 2000’s.’’ The ACLU also states, “the increase in arrests is directly correlated to the presence of SROs in schools. The arrest rates for schools with SROs were 3.5 times the rate of those without SROs.’’ 
‘’Officers need to be here,’’ Roosevelt sophomore Ethan Anderson said. “They keep control, like, knowing they are here helps keep some sort of order in the building.’’  

Despite how the public views them, they continue to help students as best as they can. When Roosevelt journalism teacher Mary Stapp got her wallet stolen at school and her credit card used, she was worried and angry. ‘’I talked to the School Resource Officer, and I said, ‘I think I do want to press charges because I think this is a very serious situation. They used my card.’’’  

But, a SRO was able to give her some words that changed her entire outlook. 

‘’It was really the police officer who had the compassion, and I was kind of mad at that point, but he was showing compassion to the kids,” Stapp said. He asked her where the card was used and for what. “Food,” she replied, “Chipotle, Panda Express, and Aunt Annie’s or something like that.” 

“Maybe he was hungry,” the cop said.
SROs are a specially trained division within the Metropolitan Police Department. They also have very different roles from the standard school security, which can be apparent in that security tries to be friendly, but the SROs aren’t having a lot of conversations.
‘’As security, I affect the base level, like escorting students and watching the hallways. SRO’s, they arrest and things like that. Much more authority,” said Roosevelt security officer Katherine Simmons. 
The presence of SROs in school buildings are viewed by some students as essential. The way officers operate outside of the school building is very different from the way they work inside it. SRO’s take their job seriously but have also have compassion. 
“Being here, is my job. And I’m going to do it at the highest level I can,’’ Roosevelt School Resource Officer Curt Bonney said. “Schools shouldn’t be a dangerous place. It’s a place to learn and grow. And I believe with officers here, the school space can be much safer. It’s the push that’s needed.”