Cops out of Burlington schools

By Guy Page

School Resource Officers (police assigned to schools) will no longer be stationed at Burlington city schools, the school board decided last night. 

Citing disproportionate arrests of black youth and finding that “members of the BIPOC community have expressed that the mere presence of police in the school is traumatic for them,” the Burlington School District Safety Task Force February 15 recommended eliminating one School Resource Officer position and housing the remaining SRO at the police station. The Burlington School Board Tuesday night approved the task force recommendations. 

The remaining SRO may only enter the school for scheduled events or in event of an emergency. Many of the SRO’s traditional educational and community bridge-building duties will be conducted by non-police staff members.

“Black juveniles made up between 31-60% of juvenile SRO arrests across the four school years yet occur at only 16% in the school population,” the Feb. 15 report concludes. “Therefore, despite decreases in arrests and a lower rate of arrests by the SROs compared to non-SRO police, the Black juveniles in the school and the community are still disproportionately arrested.” 

Community support for cutting SRO’s was mixed, the report said. 

On the one hand, “over 1,000 community members attended a city council meeting, asking that the police be completely removed from the schools.” However it also noted a community survey that seemed to show reservations about eliminating SROs from school. “The community survey conducted by the task force showed that 27% of the community thinks they should not be in the schools at all (53% said they should and 20% were unsure). It should be acknowledged that in this survey we had a difficult time reaching the New American community; therefore, the majority of responders (57%) were white parents.”

In its deliberations last night before approving the study recommendations, the school board did not discuss the security impacts of not having a police officer onsite, Ward 7 school board member Monika Ivancic told Vermont Daily today. The proximity of the middle school on Main Street and the (temporary) high school on Cherry Street should permit a prompt response in event of an emergency, she said. 

The Burlington City School District decision to eliminate onsite SRO patrol presence follows an as yet-unsuccessful attempt by Vermont senators – including one from Burlington’s Chittenden County – to eliminate SROs statewide. As reported March 4 by Vermont Daily, S63 would prohibit school districts from hiring SROs, who are armed police officers trained and assigned to work in schools. The presence of SROs leads to unacceptably high arrests – particularly of minorities – and feeds the “school-to-prison pipeline,” say its authors, Sens. Alison Clarkson (D-Windsor), Ruth Hardy (D-Addison), Chris Pearson (D/P Chittenden), and Anthony Pollina (P-Washington).

Yet the presence of a School Resource Officer deterred Jack Sawyer from carrying out his planned 2018 Valentine’ Day weekend mass shooting at Fair Haven Union High School, the school’s superintendent told the Ericka Redic Show in March. A bill introduced by two Republican senators from Rutland County would add SRO funding for all school districts and prohibit elimination of their positions. 

10 replies »

  1. The corrupting influence on the lives of the children by the presence of a Constitutionally-sworn peace officer must be a welcome relief to the inhabitants of the People’s Republic of Burlington. Perhaps school officials can use the funding for something more culturally acceptable and enlightening for the students such as Drag Queen Story Hour?

  2. So now once there is a school shooting or stabbing or sexual assault, which sadly there inevitably will be, who is going to take the “blame”? It won’t be the perpetrator as we know all violent criminals need coddling, so will the school board accept the ramifications of what will be? Doubtful……………it will be “racism’s” fault, or some type of “hate” crime caused directly or indirectly by: white people.

  3. It says so much about society when it is considered prudent to have a security presence at a lot of high school sporting events, but not in or at the schools themselves ? We have “Sky Marshals” store/mall security. National Life Insurance Company, and the State of Vermont also consider it prudent to have security officers, and yet a lot of people consider a “school resource officer” to not only be not necessary, but possibly a detriment. Is this indeed about doing as little as possible to intentionally discourage school violence ? Evidently a lot of people learned nothing, or the wrong lesson from Columbine, New Town etc. How is infringing on a lawful citizens 2nd Amendment rights a better idea than point of contact security ? Beam me up Scotty, there’s no intelligent life here !

  4. “The woke narrative” is to essentially set the stage for school violence to have more pretense for firearm restrictions on the law-abiding. “Gee, we would LIKE to have a resource officer but the sight of a uniformed officer might instill fear and anxiety in the minds of some persons of disadvantaged groups, so I guess the only way to prevent school shootings is by restricting firearms”.
    Sure, woke concepts are hard to understand for us unenlightened folks but lets try to follow some similar logic here:
    -Persons of color are observed to participate proportionately less in outdoor recreation and it has been proposed that is because the sight of trees brings on disturbing images of lynchings.
    -The State of Vermont should not support the dairy industry because People of Color are disproportionately affected by lactose intolerance.
    -Due to well-understood biological differences between men and women, we have most sports segregated by gender and have civil rights laws such as Title 9 to insure that equal resources are spent on both, but a born male should be allowed to “affirm” their right to compete in sports against a born female.

    See how logical it all is?

  5. Wouldn’t it be nice if all parents could use a School Choice Tuition Voucher to send their children to the school they believe best protects and educates their children? Many Vermont parents already can. Why not everyone?

    Considering that School Choice Tuition Vouchers alleviate virtually every controversy in our education system (especially the aspect of political debate) indicates to me that many of us are trapped in the emotional masochism perpetuated by the education monopoly. The symptoms are classic.

    Unfortunately, those most afflicted by this behavior disorder delude themselves by becoming education counselors and therapists. They rationalize their condition by perpetuating the dysfunctional behavior in everyone around them. Thus, without Tuition Vouchers, parents and their children are held hostage… which is why so many educators resist School Choice governance in the first place.

  6. A valuable life lesson can be drawn from this tactic….when bad things happen, simply close your eyes! The way to rid a society of crime & violence is to ignore it.

    • ….And to “defund” the police as they’ve already partly done – in order to claim “we have no one to respond to your incident at this time”. What a great environment.

      I wonder who will be paying for all Burlington’s “social programs” once law-abiding citizens get tired of living in a city devoid of public protective services?

  7. The citizens of Burlington will get what they deserve and voted for. You couldn’t pay me to live there.

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