The Alexandria City Council will finalize their additions and deletions to the fiscal year 2022 budget tonight (May 3), and the future of school resource officers at Alexandria City Public Schools remains in question.
Last week, a majority of City Council was in favor of discontinuing the SRO program and diverting nearly $800,000 to “add mental health resources for school aged children, support staff to the Teen Wellness Center, an additional Behavioral Health Specialist to the ACORP (Alexandria Crisis Intervention Co-Responding Program) Pilot, and other similar needs identified by staff.”
If passed, the proposal would require an implementation plan from police and ACPS, and be presented to Council by July. It currently has the support of Vice Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker, Councilman Mo Seifeldein, Councilman John Taylor Chapman and Councilman Canek Aguirre.
ACPS, however, is asking that Council respect its November 2020 memorandum of understanding with police.
The school system released the following statement to ALXnow:
In November 2020, the Alexandria City School Board approved a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Alexandria Police Department (APD) which clarified and refined the scope of the relationship between ACPS and the APD. In developing the new MOU, ACPS conducted an extensive review that incorporated concerns about the presence of armed school resource officers in some of our school buildings. The new MOU aims to increase accountability and equity while safeguarding the safety and security of our students and staff. The School Board is committed to following through on the adjustments in this agreement that require the collection of data and stronger monitoring and reporting on incidents of administrative discipline and law enforcement action in our schools.
In March, School Board members asked City Council to respect their decision on SROS after its bi-annual memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed with the police department.
“My request and hope would be that out of respect for the discussions that we have had as a School Board, and for the process that we went through, even as a matter of trust to give us time to do what we said we would like to do, that you would not take away that resource at this time,” said School Board Chair Meagan Alderton. “I don’t think it would be a productive way to address the issue that I think we all want to address.”
The final add/delete session for the fiscal year 2022 budget is at 7 p.m.
Photo via ACPS/Facebook