Broward considers adding officers in elementary schools
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) -- Broward County school officials discussed new plans on adding police officers to all elementary schools after the Sandy Hook tragedy.
Following the awful shooting of children's and teachers in Newtown, Connecticut at Sandy Hook Elementary school in December, State Senator Eleanor Sobel wants to ensure that there are police officers at every Broward County school, despite oppositions from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
"Because of reduced funding and the recession, SRO [School Resource Officer] forces have been greatly reduced in elementary schools most vulnerable," said Sobel. "One hundred of 232 Broward elementary schools do not have SRO officers."
The NAACP's Marsha Ellison said, "There is constant arrest of children for un-useful behavior. For instance, throwing a lollipop resulted in an arrest. For instance, throwing a spitball resulted in arrest. For instance, children yelling out in the cafeteria resulted in arrest, instead of being disciplined by administrators at the school."
Sobel is pushing for a state law to allow Broward County taxpayers to decide in a referendum if they want a small property tax increase to pay for school officers. "We need to find some solutions now, not in 2014, not in 2015," said Broward County Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie.
Runcie said he is already working on his own plan to step up security at schools. "Leveraging retired police officers, for example, is one strategy to be able to add more resources with the same amount of dollars that we have today,"
City officials in Miami-Dade County will be starting a program in March. The program, called Typical Or Troubled, is designed by the American Psychiatric Foundation to train teachers and counselors in recognizing troubled students.
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