The Executive Committee of the Alexandria Branch of NAACP continues to call for the removal of School Resource Officers (SROs) from all Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS). We believe their presence leads to adolescent behavior being criminalized, with minority students disproportionately affected. Data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights from 2013-14 showed Black students are 2.3 times more likely than white students to be arrested or referred to police.
Our Executive Committee understands when SROs are present in schools, not only are students of color arrested at disproportionate rates, but students are also arrested on minor infractions, such as disorderly conduct. With highly publicized incidents of police violence against communities of color there is an increase public distrust of law enforcement officers inside and outside of our public schools.
Our decision brings our branch into alignment with priorities of the National NAACP. The Executive Committee agrees it is time for ACPS to consider alternative approaches, such as redistributing SRO funding to hire more counselors, mental health professionals, social workers and nurses and relationships with trusted adults that can be fostered by staff.
The Alexandria City Council voted 4-3 in a late-night legislative meeting on October 13, 2021, to temporarily place SROs back in our schools, after several incidents this school year prompted safety concerns. This decision is the latest twist in a contentious debate over the Northern Virginia city’s School Resource Officer program, which sends police officers to ACPS.
The Alexandria Branch of the NAACP is working aggressively to improve the lives of the African Americans and other racial and ethnic minority residents in our community in the areas of education, healthcare, criminal and juvenile justice, economic development, and civic engagement.