In light of the horrific tragedy at Uvalde, and given that student and teacher safety, while in the classroom, should be a paramount concern of the Portland school board – should the school board revisit its decision to remove the school resource officers from Portland and Deering high schools?

Having a resource officer at the schools provides a first line of protection. In the event that a person enters a school with the intent of causing mayhem, the resource officer can respond in seconds. A response in those precious seconds has the potential to save the lives of both students and teachers.

A reason given for eliminating the resource officers from the schools was that students of color might be intimidated by the presence of a police officer. This might be the perfect time to try a reset. What if the new school resource officers were persons of color? This might help provide a positive role model of police officers to the students. Additionally, the Portland police could set up meetings with students, parents and teachers, where all sides could discuss the issues and try to arrive at an understanding in order to move forward.

This has the potential to be a win-win situation for both students and police. The students and teachers will have a safer environment in which to learn, and the police will have improved their relationship with Portland’s communities of color. Given the unfortunate times we live in, making the effort to provide this extra margin of safety would be time well spent.

Samuel Rosenthal

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