Two Montgomery County, Maryland, Council members are set to introduce a bill to remove school resource officers, Fox 5 reported.
Council members Will Jawando and Hans Riemer seek to transfer funds for the Montgomery County School Resource Officers program funds to other areas, such as adding school nurses and mental health professionals, Fox 5 reported. The pair announced the bill during a Defund the Police demonstration Saturday.
“I think we need to move this before kids get back to school and so the legislative process takes some time and I think that’s why we need to introduce the bill now,” Jawando told FOX 5 on Sunday. (RELATED: ‘Not Just Any Officer Can Do This’: Cities Rethink Presence Of Police Officers In Schools)
Jawando said he plans to introduce is before Thanksgiving. He previously introduced a motion, which ultimately failed, that would have eliminated 12 of the 23 county school resource officers.
He also asked for the program’s removal in a July letter, Fox5 reported.
About half of the children school resource officers arrested between 2016 and 2020 were black, even though only about 22% of the student population was black, according to Jawando.
Despite representing only 22% of our student population, from 2016-2020, roughly half of all School Police Officer (SROs) arrests in @MCPS were Black children.
— Will Jawando (@willjawando) July 14, 2020
Five council members opposed to removing student resource officers prefer to wait for the Board of Education to determine whether the program should stay, Bethesda Magazine reported. But Riemer and Jawando disagreed.
“I think it’s our decision. It’s our police department,” Riemer said, Bethesda Magazine reported. “I think we’re the ones accountable for this.”
“I think there are professionals who can do a much better job reaching kids who need to be reached,” he continued. “I hope the school system is willing to think bigger and approach this in a more visionary way,” Riemer continued.
Neither Jawando nor Riemer immediately responded to a request for comment.
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