Some Illinois lawmakers want to pull school resource officers out of schools.
A school resource officer (SRO) is a law enforcement officer who provides security and crime prevention at schools. The plan would allow school districts to take the money used for an officer and re-direct it to mental health services.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Emaunel Welch (D-Westchester) argues that the current practice has landed more children in the criminal justice system.
16 other Democrats in the House have backed Welch’s plan.
The bill has met with resistance, especially from the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.
Ed Wojcicki, Director of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, says, “The problem with this bill is that it would make many schools make a choice between spending that money on a social worker or an SRO, and anything in this day and age that would reduce the number of school officers is bad.”
The bill won’t force the schools to drop their resource officers, as its compliance is voluntary. A similar measure was introduced lat year, but it failed.