Should Wake County middle schools and high schools be patrolled by armed police officers?
As noted in today's article, Advocates for Children's Services, a project of legal Aid of N.C., issued a report Thursday saying Wake should reconsider paying local law enforcement agencies to provide school resource officers. In addition, the ACS wants to ban or at least limit the use of guns and Tasers by the SROs.
While not calling for a ban on the use of pepper spray, they do want limits on their usage as well.
Other recommendations include providing better training for SROs, encouraging schools to use alternatives such as community service rather than involving the legal system and not arresting students for breaking minor school offenses.
ACS also wants stronger rules to prevent SROs from interviewing students without parents present and to require them to only search students, their cars and their lockers with probable cause. The gray area of schools allows SROs more latitude than dealing with students off campus.
ACS provides legal representation to some students who are arrested.
ACS also brings up the financial element of Wake paying for the SROs at a time of such tight budgets.
"Education is essential to a young person’s ability to think critically, interact with others considerately, and participate in our democracy fully," according to the report. "The presence of armed law enforcement officers in Wake County’s middle and high schools is a misguided approach that is financially unsound and educationally imprudent."
School board chairman Ron Margiotta said that in an ideal world they wouldn't need armed police officers on campus. But he says they need to confront issues such as gang problems on school campuses.