ALEXANDRIA, Va. — At their Thursday meeting, the Alexandria City School Board is expected to hear a recommendation from an advisory group, that will suggest continued funding of School Resource Officers (SROs).
The 28-page report, which was released by the School Law Enforcement Partnership, an advisory group, suggests that SRO funding should continue in Alexandria.
"SROs are part of a holistic program and will not independently solve safety concerns - but they belong in the mix,” the report reads in part.
The discussion over SROs comes eight months after a massive fight near Alexandria High School. In May, 2022, dozens of young people were caught on camera fighting in the Bradlee Center parking lot. Luis Hernadez, an 18-year-old senior was stabbed and killed during that fight.
“Today an 18-year-old student at Alexandria high school did not go home to his parents," said Mayor Justin Wilson shortly after the killing. "I can't think of a more horrific thing that can happen in this world."
The advisory group report said that removing SROs after high profile incidents like this would be a bad idea.
"Removing SROs would send a message to many families and community members that ACPS does not take seriously the violence that has occurred," the report read.
The advisory group called for 17 recommendations, including the following:
- De-escalation techniques should be part of SROs yearly professional development training.
- The School Board should create a new committee to study why minority students are arrested at higher rates.
- Prompt incident reporting for parents.
“Be clear about potential delays or legal constraints on what can be revealed," the report reads. "But commit to being as forthright as possible.”
The debate over SROs in Alexandria has taken a political turn at times. Virginia's Attorney General Jason Miyares has pushed for the funding, in an effort to boost safety in schools.
In August Miyares sent the City Council a letter urging them to keep School Resource Officers, and in November, he toured Alexandria City High School, along with the city's mayor.
The School Board is set to meet Thursday night at 6:30 p.m.
In the 2021-2022 school year, Alexandria City schools started the year without School Resource Officers. The city reinstated them three months later at the request of school leaders.