Is Sahuaro Safer with a School Resource Officer on Campus?


Amanda Mourelatos, Editor in Chief

Last year, Sahuaro High School was given a School Resource Officer, Officer Bateman. Unfortunately, he left to Santa Rita High School, but the Equity and Diversity Department wants to know from the students if they want another SRO around this year. “We will use this feedback to help determine program effectiveness and best practices to support all of our students and staff when we return to school,” said Halley Freitas, the Senior Director of TUSD in an email to Sahuaro teachers.

The survey has a series of agree or disagree questions about safety, relationships, and resources. Students gave their opinion about whether or not the SRO’s presence makes them feel safe, how he/she treated students, whether or not students have been educated about law and violence, and more.

Officer Bateman last year

Former SRO Bateman was the first line of defense against any outside threats, just like other SROs, and provided a significant time advantage to those needing 911 services since he was already on campus. “The position of SRO is an ultimate balancing act between enforcing the rules while treating students with respect, simultaneously guiding them towards successful choices,” he said.

Bateman said, regarding SROs and their impact, “In my opinion, there is no question that a school that has a trained Law Enforcement Officer as their SRO is a safer place than one that is without an SRO.”

However, that isn’t everyone’s opinion. For example in Kittery, Maine, it was voted against employing any school resource officers this school year. The article said, “At the heart of the argument brought forth last month by those opposing the SRO role was that the presence of a police officer does not equate to the same comfort and safety for Black and brown students as it does for white students, considering the historical fractured relationship between communities of color and police.”