During the Dec. 18 Greensboro City Council meeting, a resolution was passed that made it seem like there would be a significant increase of SROs in Guilford County Schools. The resolution updated a contract between the Greensboro Police Department and Guilford County Schools that states that the “city shall provide 17 sworn officers to be assigned to specific middle/high schools by the chief of police” and also states that “Guilford County Schools will pay the City up to $1.1 million per the annual costs statement provided by the city for sworn officers to serve as SROs for the 2018-19 school year.”
During the meeting, members of the public spoke out against the perceived increase of SROs in schools and Mayor Nancy Vaughan responded in favor of the contract saying, “I find it ironic that we are having a discussion about SROs in schools when we just had really, an amazing story at Smith High School which is basically a school filled with black and brown children. We had a school resource officer who was an absolute hero who saved countless lives.”
“I’m ready to vote for this item. SROs do good things in schools and they are needed, and I stand by our police department.”
In reality, the passed contract is actually just an update of an old contract that didn’t include 7 Greensboro middle schools that have SROs in them. According to Ron Glenn, the GPD’s public information officer, both the public and the city council that voted on the item have it wrong. The amendment doesn’t add more SROs to schools, it’s just an update to the contract to reflect the number of SROs that are currently in schools.
Still, the debates come in the wake of increased concern over school safety after the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, in which 17 students were killed by a mass shooter.
Currently, there is at least one SRO in each of Guilford County’s high schools and middle schools, according to Glenn. They are employed by the Greensboro Police Department, the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office and the High Point Police Department.
Whether or not there will be more in the future, is a debate for another day.
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