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Cedar Rapids Schools holding feedback session on school resource officer changes


CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWWL) -- The Cedar Rapids Community School District is asking for feedback on their School Resource Officer Program.

The district has created a survey to provide input that will help guide the district's evaluation of the program. The district is also holding feedback sessions. The first session was held on Monday night at Roosevelt Creative Corridor Business Academy.

The second session will be held Tuesday night from 7:00 - 8:00 at McKinley STEAM Academy.

The SRO program was put in place in 2011, but school staff say oversight of the contract has been lacking.

Recent data from the Department of Human Rights shows disparities in complaints made against White and Black students. Since 2015 Black students have been cited the most, when compared to students of other races, by School Resource Officers in the seven Cedar Rapids schools they are present in.

SROs currently undergo a 40-hour specialized training through the National Association of School Resource Officers focusing on how to be a teacher, informal counselor, and law enforcement officer. About 10 of those hours focus on diversity and equity training.

Years of data collected shows the need for additional inclusion, diversity, and equity education, which is something the district is looking to implement by next year. Diversion training has also been brought up to hopefully lead to more restorative practices rather than punitive, such as arrests.

Other changes that are being talked about among school administrators is the uniform the SROs would wear while on school grounds, from the typical police officer uniform to a more informal and casual one. Next month, the police department will present data on their end during the July school board meeting.

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