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CVUSD Concerns: Parents debate whether School Resource Officers should return to campuses

Following several safety incidents in recent months at Coachella Valley Unified (CVUSD) campuses, there's one concern thatvoicing her support for school resource officers to come back has been on the minds of many again.

Should School Resource Officers (SRO) from the Riverside County Sheriff's Department should return to CVUSD schools?

Some parents we spoke with think it’s time to bring deputies back onto campus, while others believe SRO's wouldn’t help the problem.

“I want somebody that's trained and honestly somebody that's armed, you know, and be able to handle these incidents," said parent Elizabeth Tabarez.

Tabarez voiced her support for School Resource Officers to return to schools. In 2018, SROs were removed from CVUSD campuses. The restorative justice program was implemented in its place, which focuses on minimizing violence and supporting the emotional needs of students.

“There’s a lot of parents that don't want the sheriff back. Like you know what, I understand that but I think it's time for you to pull the parents again and ask us right now how we feel because I'm pretty sure you might get a different response," Tabarez explained.

This, after several incidents over the last few months. The most recent happening just last week, when Coachella Valley High School went into lockdown.

The school quickly implemented backpack checks, but Tabarez believes it’s not enough to keep students safe.

“Whatever measures they re trying to implement is not the same as bringing an officer on campus. You know, that will definitely protect our students from exterior threats," Tabarez said.

She’s hoping the school board will consider have deputies on campus again.

“This is sort of another level of safety. And this is not saying that this is going to prevent everything, but we're saying that that is something that the students have requested," said Trinidad Arredondo, Board member for the Coachella Valley Unified School District.

Arredondo is one of them members who feels the same way as Tabarez, after hearing requests from families and students. He believes it’s time revisit the conversation to bring officers back.

"We've had them in the past. And no time have we've had the the issues that we have today like in the last couple of weeks," Arredondo said.

On the other hand, some parents disagree and feel the officers would not have the skills to work with the students.

“I’m asking that we help kids identify what the root of the problem is," said parent Sandra Ramirez.

Ramirez’s children attend Coachella Valley High School. She says the presence of officers would create an environment of fear for the students.

“There’s fights that take place without weapons, that leads me to believe their emotional needs are not being met. And we need to address that," Ramirez said.

Board member Joey Acuña shared Ramirez's sentiment, speaking out against SROs during the last meeting.

"I do not support School Resource Officers in the schools," Acuña said.

The decision remains split, but Arredondo says he hopes his colleagues will be able to reach an agreement soon.

If SROs were to return, CVUSD says it would cost about $200,000 per officer.

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Samantha Lomibao

Samantha joined KESQ News Channel 3 in May 2021. Learn more about Samantha here here.


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