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Controversy surrounding school resource officers, Waverly Community Schools considers adding one

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Posted at 4:47 PM, Nov 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-11 16:18:32-05

LANSING, Mich. — A threat at Waverly High School last month has prompted discussions about the district hiring a school resource officer.

While some parents support the idea, others are against it.

“I really oppose it,” said Waverly Community Schools parent Raushawn Bodiford.

Bodiford’s son is a freshman at Waverly High School. He hopes his son doesn't have to deal with what others have faced.

"The nature of policing in this country, there’s a very tangible history of discrimination, police versus people of color,” he said. “The kids are not excluded from viewing the history, some of them of even experienced it.”

Other parents like Megan Short like the idea of a school resource officer. She thinks it can prevents violence in the classroom.

“The schools my kids went to last year had resource officers, so there was less bullying less fights and less chance of threats and shootings going on and stuff like that,” she said.

Having these officers in schools seems to be a growing trend.

The Michigan Legislature recently appropriated $25 million for public schools in the state to hire school resource officers. But the question here is, are they really helping prevent violence and shootings?

“To me the school resource officer data is not in in terms of prevention of school violence,” said John Carlson.

Carlson, a professor in school psychology at Michigan State University, has studied the impacts of school shootings for years. While Carlson believes there hasn’t been enough data collected to determine if school resource officers prevent violence, he does stand behind research that talks about these officers making minority students feel uncomfortable.

The state's education website shows 60% of students at Waverly Community Schools are minorities.

“In terms of the individual that look different from the officers that can lead to judgement for that individual that creates issues, and it all stems from some populations being treated different by law enforcement,” Carlson said.

Going back to Waverly High School, we reached out to the district for an interview, and they said the idea of hiring a school resource office is still just a discussion and no concrete decisions have been made.

Tianna Jenkins

12:23 PM, Jan 12, 2021

Your Neighborhood Reporter

Tianna Jenkins

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