As the debate around Student Resource Officers (SRO) in schools continues on social media, there is one phrase that continually gets under my skin, “I think parents would feel....”
The first problem I have with this phrase is “I think...”. This implies that the commentor is not a parent themselves and has no real stake because it’s not their children’s schooling they’re voting on.
Even if the commentor were a parent, I don’t care how parents feel about SROs. Parents are not the people going into school everyday to see them. They are not the ones interacting with them on a daily basis.
Keeping with my own advice, I will not share my opinion on SROs because it’s not my life, I am not the one who catches the full force of the consequences of this decision.
I will, however, plead with parents, and anyone else who wants to voice an opinion on this issue, to listen to students. Sit down with your student and ask them, “Does having an SRO make you feel safer?”
Have a conversation with your student and then advocate for their position. If your child tells you that they feel safer, then fight to keep SROs. If they tell you they don’t want them, then fight to remove SROs.
Anyone advocating on the behalf of children (gun control, removing SROs, reopening schools, etc.) needs to speak to them first. Students are not your political pawns. People cannot do things in other’s name without asking where they stand.
Removing a SRO is scary thought for some parents, and that’s okay, but don’t confuse your fear for the fear of a student. Most students are not old enough to vote, they don’t get a say in what happens to them one way or the other. The least parents can do when deciding things that will directly effect students is take the time to hear what they have to say.
(Lauren Murphy is a community reporter for the Keizertimes. She is looking for student sources for a story on the potential removal of SROs. Please email [email protected] if you are interested.)