FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – Fresno Unified is budgeting 3.2 million dollars for more law enforcement officers – but the district is getting some push back by community members before making the decision due to recent survey findings.
The survey showed some students of color are interacting with law enforcement officers at higher rates than other students.
Fresno Unified conducted the survey to see how their students and faculty felt about armed school resource officers on campus. Around 74% of parents and 83% of staff members support keeping police on campus, and close to 83% of staff members support keeping police on campus.
Close to 76% of parents and about 80% of staff members agree that having police officers on campus makes schools safer.
Fresno Unified School Board member Keshia Thomas said they are taking into consideration the results from the most recent survey before making their decision.
“Transitioning the culture of Fresno PD on campus and the conversations with students have been amazing by the way,” said Thomas.
Fresno Unified also conducted focus groups with students, key findings being inconsistency with enforcement, officers not building relationships with students, and fear of potential biases against students from Fresno Police.
Lindsay Sanders, who assisted Fresno Unified with the survey, said the focus groups and survey showed how the community really feels about policing on campus.
“We know there is disproportionate outcomes for students,” said Sanders.
Sanders said Fresno Unified wants to do what’s best for its students. Meanwhile, grassroots organizations like 99 Rootz – Power California oppose spending $3.2 million on school resource officers and want more counselors and emotion support teams instead.
“One of our goals is to divest from police on campuses we believe that punitive measures and it’s just not what we want to see on our school campuses,” said Jasmine Leiva with 99 Rootz – Power California.