Montgomery County principals back resource officer program

The high school principals in Montgomery County, Maryland, unanimously want school resource officers to continue working in the county’s public schools, the Board of Education was told at a meeting Monday.

Over the summer, a motion to reduce the number of officers by half was turned down, and the board heard testimony from principals about the benefits of having police officers in schools.

There was some dissent from student Board member Nick Asante, though, who pointed out discrepancies in the discipline handed out by the police officers.

Of the 460 Montgomery County students arrested in the past three school years, 83% were Black and Hispanic, while 53% of all students are of those ethnicities.

And though principals spoke about a wide range of benefits to having the officers, Asante said, “If [officers] are for community building, not for discipline, then are they the best community member to have in a school for community building? And if so, why?”

Superintendent Jack Smith ordered the review of the program in June. He will issue a report and recommendations in January.

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2013 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He's the author of "A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set" and "I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival."

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