GLSEN Phoenix's Statement on Security Resource Officers (SROs) in Schools
As an organization founded on the mission statement of safe schools for all students, GLSEN Phoenix first and foremost supports policies that make students feel safe. Acknowledging the feedback we’ve received from students as well as numerous reputable studies, it is our belief that to work with School Resource Officers (SROs) would run counter to our mission, compromise our efficacy, and make schools feel hostile, especially for BIPOC students. For these reasons, we at GLSEN Phoenix support policies that defund SROs.
While we at GLSEN Phoenix hold the long term goal of eliminating SROs, the current realities pose some challenges for us. As an education non-profit, our presence in schools is based on invitation, and we lack the institutional power to ban or expel SROs from on-campus events. Even if we advocate against an SRO presence at student events or educator trainings, we are limited in our ability to restrict or prohibit law enforcement from entering those spaces. This places our organization in a difficult position: To limit our engagement with schools that have SROs would hamstring our advocacy efforts, but to ignore the SRO presence in schools does a disservice to students, especially students of color. In the coming months, we as an organization are committed to finding short term solutions that allow us to limit SRO engagement as we work toward the long term goal of defunding SROs.
The defunding and elimination of SROs is a new direction for GLSEN Phoenix. In many ways, our best practices are still under development. As we develop new training, curriculum, and partnerships, we will continue to amend and revise this policy.
To learn more about GLSEN's stance on Restorative Discipline in schools, click here.