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Parents at Washington Elementary want school resource officer back

Posted at 5:55 PM, Feb 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-23 19:55:08-05

PHOENIX — Washington Elementary students and parents continue to lose trust in school after the school resource officer was reassigned.

Parent Priscilla Flores reads a letter penned by her daughter, a student at Washington Elementary, "He still had a lesson to teach my class. I'm concerned about what happened to him."

Flores' daughter is writing about Officer Jesse Martinez, Washington Elementary's former school resource officer.

The district won't say why Martinez was removed except that Phoenix Police reassigned the officer. The lack of explanation is not enough for parents.

They say Martinez voiced concerns about student safety when needles and other drug paraphernalia were found on campus, before being reassigned.

Now without Martinez, parents are struggling to trust the school.

"They say nothing's been found in three weeks. I don't think they're going to inform us what they've been finding if they did find anything,” says parent Josie Slowinski. "I feel like we don't matter. My kids don't matter. The safety of the kids doesn't matter.”

Since ABC 15 first reported syringes found on the Washington Elementary campus, Flores says she's seen the school sweep campus more often.

The school maintains safety is their priority.

"The superintendent is aware of this issue and that is why we work with our city officials regularly to address them, how can we work together, so that all of us are safe," says Pam Horton, a spokesperson for the district.

While dangers of drug paraphernalia remain a concern, parents are focusing on Martinez.

"The school needs him. He was doing a lot of great things for the school," says Flores. The parents at least want closure for their children who lost a beloved role model.

Flores' daughter says, "All the students would like him back. We miss him very much."