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Tempe Union High School District votes to begin phasing out school resource officers

Posted at 7:02 AM, Oct 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-14 10:02:44-04

School board members for the Tempe Union High School District voted 3-2 Wednesday night to begin phasing out school resource officers on campus.

The decision came after at least an hour of public comment from parents, students, and police officers.

The district will now create an entirely new safety plan, one that does not include SROs.

According to the resolution, "Black TUHSD students are three times more likely than their white peers to be referred to law enforcement, as reported to the U.S. Department of Education."

"It's better to invest the funding assigned to SROs to get more councilors, social workers, and psychologists to support our social and emotional needs," one student said at Wednesday's meeting.

When asked, officials with the Tempe Police Department told ABC15 they do not support removing SROs. They told ABC15 they're the first line of defense, "and the response for officers on campus is going to be much quicker," said Det. Natalie Barela.

Barela is a Tempe native and spent three years as an SRO for the district.

"SROs are there simply to help," she said. "They're simply there to be safety, security...and to help students and families," she added.

According to the resolution, SROs will be phased out beginning in August of 2022.