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Petition asking for removal of school resource officers

West Lafayette Community School Corporation alumni are wanting to see school resource officers removed from schools within the district as part of a recent petition.

Posted: Jul 22, 2020 6:18 PM
Updated: Jul 22, 2020 6:22 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - West Lafayette Community School Corporation alumni are continuing their push for racial justice reform.

In a recent petition, alumni highlighted policy changes they believe would help support people of color in local schools.

"We're looking for a fundamental restructuring of the police department," said Alumna Ila Chaubey.

Chaubey said many believe such officers have added a level of fear for some students in recent times.

"SROs make students uncomfortable. Having a police officer in a school is going agitate students. It's going to make them uncomfortable. You're not going to want to go to an SRO when you have an issue," said Chaubey.

According to Chaubey, alumni want officers to be replaced with social workers, psychologists and mental health workers. She said such resources would better suit a student's needs.

"Mental health counselors are far more effective in actually, you now, speaking through issues, talking to students when they have an issue whether that's at home or at school. All of that training makes them far far more effective when dealing with students," said Chaubey.

Chaubey said alumni are currently putting together a list of stories of racism students faced from SROs, staff and other students.

She said they plan to present the list within the next few weeks to further the discussion on racial injustice reform.

On Tuesday, Sheriff Bob Goldsmith announced plans to add two new School Resource Officers to their program with the Tippecanoe School Corporation. When asked about removing officers from schools, Goldsmith was against the idea.

"To take the officers out of the school in my opinion is totally absurd," said Goldsmith.

While the department is not partnered with the West Lafayette school district, Goldsmith said having an officer in every school is crucial, especially in the event of an emergency.

"Gosh forbid it happens that we have an active shooter situation or a mass shooting at a school, they're going to want an officer there," said Goldsmith.

Goldsmith added that having an officer as a resource allows students to form special bonds with their local law enforcement.

"Proving those programs and working with the kids and working with the teachers that helps us in the future," said Goldsmith.

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