By Erin Freeman | Lynnwood Times Staff
The death of George Floyd in the custody of a Minneapolis police officer is prompting a larger discussion about police brutality and the presence of police in schools in the Edmonds School District (ESD).
The Edmonds School Board will host a virtual discussion about School Resource Officers and the relationship between the ESD and local law enforcement agencies on Tuesday, June 16. The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. and end at 8:30 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend.
Harmony Weinburg, a spokesperson for the ESD, says that district staff and school board members have been engaging in dialogue surrounding the presence of School Resource Officers in schools and are holding the forum to continue the conversation with students, families, staff, and community members.
“The district strives to be a place of listening to all voices when concerns on any issue arise,” replied Weinburg in an email.
The ESD School Board will also be sending out a survey to high school students to receive input on their outlook on the relationship between School Resources Officers and school safety.
The ESD did not disclose if they are specifically considering the removal of the officers.
Petition to keep school resource officers
Catrin Riggs, a Lynnwood resident and parent of four, currently has two children in the Edmonds School District. She is leading an effort to keep School Resource Officers on Edmonds school campuses.
According to Riggs, a letter was sent to the Edmonds School District Board and Superintendents demanding that the Edmonds School District immediately sever relationships with local police.
Riggs told the Lynnwood Times, that “members of the community are responding in a kneejerk reaction and not thinking of the consequences.”
In the online petition, Riggs states that “the tragic events that unfolded with Mr. Floyd are NOT typical, NOT expected, did NOT follow police procedures, and do NOT reflect law enforcement’s purpose to serve & protect.”
She further stated, that “instead of distancing our students from law enforcement, our schools should encourage our students to see police work as something to aspire to, and be proud of.”
Petition to end school resource officers
According to the petition, it states that “we can no longer justify the regular stress and trauma placed on our Black and brown students with the daily presence of Student Resource Officers in our school buildings in the name of safety.”
The petition addresses fiscal benefits to the removing school resource officers.
“In the midst of massive budget shortages when many schools do not have adequate nursing or counseling resources, it is particularly unconscionable that our district is spending our scarce funds to police our students.”
The online petition is called, “End Relationship with Local Police Departments Now” A link to the petition can be found here.
Mukilteo School District
The Mukilteo School District confirmed that they will not be considering the removal of School Resource Officers from their school campuses.
Diana Bradford, a spokesperson for the Mukilteo School District, said that School Resource Officers will remain on campuses to continue to provide security to students and faculty members from potential internal and external threats at school. Bradford also claimed the officers play a role in supporting the social and emotional well-being of students.
“They help build trusting relationships with students,” stated Bradford in an email. “They are an integral part of the school staff and they receive training about their role in developing those student relationships.”
Students, families, staff, and community members can register in advance for the Edmonds School Board community zoom meeting here: https://edmondsschools.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJMkc-2vrD0sHdZxOmfp_dzSBDT5bm_SDM7l.