Cities across the nation saw their school resource officers eliminated as the city council's reduced funding for police departments. Then crime within schools spiked, leading principals like Peter Balas to beg the city council for their back.
Chaos In Schools
Alexandria's city council voted to take all of the SROs out of the middle and high schools just five months ago. As a result, fights and gun violence have broken out, with videos of the fights posted on social media.
One of the videos shows a brutal attack in a parking lot with a group of students kicking another on the pavement. In contrast, another shows an assault taking place in the school cafeteria.
Another video shows high school students attacking a man in a McDonald's near the Alexandria City High School. According to WJLA, the school used to be T.C. Williams, which was the school that inspired "Remember the Titans."
In the video, you see students and an adult in a confrontation that morphed into the students punching and kicking the man in the face.
When parents saw the video, they were horrified and wanted the SRO's put back into the schools. One parent, Jennifer Rohrbach, said, "When I watch these videos, I would say my reaction is shock, complete shock."
However, Rohrbach firmly believes that the violence will end when SRO's return to the campuses. The school leaders agree with the parents. Alexandria City High School Principal Peter Balas went before the city council to plead with them to bring the SROs back.
In a zoom meeting, he told them, "The safety of our schools, students, and staff make SROs an essential tool in our toolbox." He also said, "Our students are sending us warning shots-literal warning shots." The principal was incredibly emotional in his pleas before the council.
After a lengthy debate between the city council members, which went until 1 a.m., they voted to bring back SROs 4-to-3.
The decision will go into effect as soon as possible, and SROs will remain in place for the rest of the school year. After that, however, the city manager will need to figure out what to do for the 2022-2023 school year.
But for now, teachers and parents can be assured that the SROs will be returning to campuses to help bring order back into the incredibly chaotic Alexandria City Schools.