Keep our School Resource Officers funded!

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Today, June 11th, 2020, the City of Gainesville Commission voted to not fund our School Resource Officers in the upcoming FY21 budget. In fact, the Mayor went as far as to state, “We have a tremendous SRO team, recognized last year as the best in the state… my point’s not with that. My point is, highest best use of valuable resources. There is NO evidence that having School Resource Officers, in schools, on duty, prevents shootings. There’s data that shows—and I’m speaking more nationally, not here in the city of Gainesville—there’s more arrests, there’s more negative interactions… I don’t think it helps us accomplish what we’re trying to accomplish.”

Well Mayor Poe and City of Gainesville Commission, we are petitioning to reverse this vote because of the following reasons:

1. Per Florida Statute 1006.12 (Safe-school officers at each public school) - For the protection and safety of school personnel, property, students, and visitors, each district school board and school district superintendent shall partner with law enforcement agencies to establish or assign one or more safe-school officers at each school facility within the district.

2. By removing the funding for school resource officers, the City will not only be going against a FL statute but also putting an additional burden on our already underfunded school district, who will need to pay for the total agreement with local agencies. Our teachers, school bus drivers, and staff are already underpaid, do we really want to add to the funding issues??

3. Our school resource officers do much more than what meets the eye for our students', schools as well as the community. Did you know that our school resource officers were out continuing to help deliver school work packets and food to students that were not able to get it from their assigned school or meal sites since March 13th for COVID-19? Did you know that they handle most of the extracurricular activities that require security at the schools? Did you know that they serve as mentors students that may not have one elsewhere? And this is just the tip of the ice berg to what all our officers do to help make our students lives that much better and safer! 

With the above listed reasons and many more, we urge Mayor Lauren Poe and the City of Gainesville Commission to reverse their vote and fund the School Resource Officers! They are a much needed and valuable resource in our community.