‘The people that were supposed to be there for him failed him,’ Advocates for Social Justice express concern about School Resource Officer program

"The people that were supposed to be there for him failed him. And one of those people were the student resource officer."
Published: Sep. 12, 2021 at 10:28 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The Advocates for Social Justice held an event on Sunday to express concerns about the Cedar Rapids Community School District’s School Resource Officer Program.

Angelina Ramirez is a member of the Advocate for Social Justice and was one of the speakers for the “say no to SRO’s” event at Mckinley Middle School.

”SRO’s have no place in learning environments, police officers should not be there to condition our students, specifically our minority students whether that’s low income or racial minority,” Ramirez said. “They should not be there to control or discipline or order to this extent over students.”

She said one of her friends had a bad experience with a School Resource Officer.

“The target was kind of put on him, every time he spoke out of line, or spoke in class, or was on his phone, or was late, it was always a matter for the resource officer,” she said. “It wasn’t a matter of a teacher pulling him aside and talking to him. And when he started showing signs of not being able to focus in class or having trouble focusing, ADHD symptoms, all of those things. Instead of a mental health professional, he was a target more so by the resource officer, to the point where eventually he was being searched every day for a noncriminal offense.”

Ramirez said when he turned 18, he suffered from depression and overdosed on pills.

Advocates for Social Justice want schools to use the SRO funds for mental health therapists, nurses, and social workers to better help student issues.

“These students are going to have tougher times in their life afterward, you know that stuff, again, like I said, no matter what some people think, no matter how small it may seem to some people, it’s really a large issue in our community,” Ture Morrow, the Founder of Advocate for Social Justice, said.

Cedar Rapids Police said the SRO program is meant to build better relationships with students.

Cedar Rapids Community School District Superintendent Noreen Bush will give an update on the program at Monday night’s school board meeting.

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