As a biracial student at Portland High School, I strongly believe that it would be reckless to remove the school resource officers from Portland and Deering high schools. School Resource Officers Michael Bennis and Steven Black are friends to the diverse communities at Portland and Deering. In fact, they go above and beyond by attending local events to build relationships with community members.

School resource officers receive training in counseling to help them be effective in a school setting. Learning is most effective when schools are safe and welcoming environments for all students and adults. School resource officers play an integral role in ensuring the physical safety of our schools and all inside. Many students rely on our school resource officers to welcome them in, provide counsel and mentorship.

Some students and parents are speaking up in favor of the resolution that cuts ties between our schools and the Portland Police Department. However, many do not have affiliations with either Portland or Deering. Stephanie Brown, PHS student representative on the school board, said the following: “Not only does Officer Bennis make Portland High a safer place, but a more welcoming one. He truly aims to form a connection with every student, and would be a tremendous loss to our community.”

We cannot let the vocal minority create an unsafe learning environment for our students. It is paramount that the voices of all parties directly impacted by this decision are the voices that are heard. We need to build up our community, not tear it down.

Ashleigh Daniels

Portland

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