A Virginia city that voted to remove police officers from its schools in May decided to reinstate student resource officers following an uptick in violence in the city’s public schools.
Back in May, the Alexandria City Council voted to remove school resource officers from public schools, citing concerns about the “safety” of students in the wake of national “defund the police” protests. Council members also reallocated $800,000 in funding from school resource officers to mental-health programs.
This week, however, the city council reevaluated its decision and voted 4–3 to reinstate the police presence in Alexandria’s schools.
“I’m begging you to please reconsider this decision to remove our [student resource officer] program and return this essential resource to us immediately,” Alexandria City High School Principal Peter Balas told the council, according to WJLA.
“Our students are sending us warning shots. Literal warning shots,” he continued. “My staff, my students. We’re not OK.”
The county’s superintendent agreed and said the rise in violence in Alexandria’s schools has been alarming.
“It’s proven in this short period of time that we need [student resource officers] back in our school buildings,” Superintendent Gregory Hutchings said at the meeting. “We cannot ignore the perceptions of our students and staff as well as our families in regards to feeling safe as they walk into our buildings.”
Following the removal of student resource officers, several brawls have broken out, and a shooting even occurred just blocks away from Alexandria High School.
Just last week, a student was arrested right in front of the high school for trying to bring a gun into the building.
The Alexandria Police Department said that the student was charged with possession of a firearm on school property.
“This was going to happen,” one parent said. “Take away the police from inside schools, and you’re going to see people get hurt.”