RPS sees successful implementation of School Resource Officers

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(ABC 6 News) – The Rochester Public School board discussed the implementation of School Resource Officers (SROs) at its study session Tuesday night.

The board heard the results of an SRO Working Group Report from Tawonda Burks on the success of SROs in the district, and overall, reported that this process has been successful.

Rochester Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kent Pekel said there are both similarities and discrepancies between how RPS and the Rochester Police Department record student interaction with SROs. Pekel added that this is not an issue that is unique to RPS.

The big discussion Tuesday night was incident reporting and the district saw data for what it believes was the first time on this topic.

“There are reasons that we don’t want the data between school districts and police departments to exactly match. We don’t want a kid who is disciplined but doesn’t have any involvement in criminal activity to be identified as such because that’s a school issue,” Pekel said. “Similarly, a kid who has an interaction with law enforcement outside the school that doesn’t involve the school at all is likely not an appropriate pass-through for information to the school unless there is an issue of safety or support for the student.”

The question “How does the Rochester Police Department record incidents in which SROs are involved with students? Are there differences in how involvement with students is recorded among the SROs?” was asked to School Resource Officers in a group meeting. SROs responded by saying that they as SROs make the decision if an incident is reported and recorded along. They added that incidents that are recorded are mental health, drugs, sexual assaults and abuse/domestic assaults.

Dr. Pekel added that this topic was brought to the board tonight not with complete clarity. It was followed by lots of discussion.