School district should keep SROs

To the editor,

There were many issues that one could address with the Monona Grove School Board right now, but one I want to touch on is the issue of school resource officers.

As a parent of a student in the district, I feel strongly that police officers should be in the schools. They provide for a safe learning and working environment for everyone in the building. In addition, they develop relationships with students and look out for their well-being. A parent told me of their child being bullied and that Officer Jessica (Helgeland) was the only one who noticed and reached out to the parent.

I also think of the realities of school shootings and having a trained law enforcement professional on the school grounds makes the response to an active killer immediate – giving our children and teachers the best chance to survive.

The bigger question is if the school board is going to let students, parents and teachers have a say about whether or not the school resource officers stay. Judging from the comments of several school board members at the Aug. 13 meeting, they don’t feel our voices need to be heard on this very important issue. I believe three separate surveys to parents, students and teachers should be conducted of each of those stakeholder groups before any decision is made.

I also encourage the members of the school board to have conversations with the two school resource officers you have had to have a better understanding of what they have done on a daily basis. To my knowledge, this hasn’t been done, and that’s not fair to the work they have done or the children they’ve helped. If you don’t fully understand what they have been doing, then you are making a decision without all of the information. If the school district isn’t willing to risk one life due to COVID and is keeping the schools closed because of that, the same should be true for keeping our kids safe from gun violence. It’s your duty to find out what really is going on in the schools and keep our children safe.

Paula Severson

Cottage Grove

Recommended for you