FRESNO, California (KSEE) – Officers with Fresno Police will continue to patrol Fresno Unified campuses following a vote by the Board of Trustees to keep the School Resource Officers.
Jasmine Leiva, who works for the non-profit 99rootz Power California, said she and other grassroots organizations have been pushing for months to stop Fresno Unified from paying Fresno Police for School Resource Officers.
“I think we are really happy for introducing the conversation of how policing harms students and youth of color on campuses – and we will continue to have this conversation,” said Leiva.
During the school board meeting, every trustee voted in favor of renewing the contract except for Area 4 Trustee Veva Islas, who abstained from voting.
“I didn’t vote yes because I felt like there were things in the contract that needed to be improved,” said Islas. “I didn’t vote no because I think that there is a place for law enforcement, I just don’t think that the scope that they previously had is the right scope.”
Islas said she supports Fresno Police and the hard work they do. However, she also acknowledges the potential of a school to prison pipeline if officers are disciplining rather than forming connections.
“From my perspective and my values, I do want to see us invest in prevention rather than these large investments in punishment and I think that’s what the students have loudly been saying,” said Islas.
Area 7 Trustee Terry Slatic has been a big advocate for keeping cops on campus. He said the parents and faculty want them on campus too.
“What everyone needs to understand when we are looking at the SRO, the school resource officers, which we obviously still have now for the next year, and the SNRO on the middle school campus they are now gone,” said Slatic.