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Scarsdale and SROs: Further Discussion

Do many schools employ law enforcement officers or School Resource Officers (SROs)? Would Scarsdale be in the minority? Are most SROs employed in large inner cities?

These questions are entirely pertinent to the discussion of SROs and whether they are generally accepted for a District like Scarsdale. There is no legal requirement for a school district to report the use of police or SROs to any central agency. However, The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), along with the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) in the Department of Education and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) in the Department of Justice publish an annual report on school crime and student safety. The report has been published for the past twenty years. Sources include results from the School-Associated Violent Death Surveillance System, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, the Department of Justice, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); the National Crime Victimization Survey and School Crime Supplement to that survey, sponsored by BJS and NCES, respectively; the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, sponsored by the CDC; the Schools and Staffing Survey, National Teacher and Principal Survey, School Survey on Crime and Safety, Fast Response Survey System, and EDFacts, all sponsored by NCES; the Supplementary Homicide Reports, sponsored by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Campus Safety and Security Survey, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education; and the Program for International Student Assessment, sponsored by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The summarized findings regarding the prevalence of SROs are as follows:

1) The percentage of public schools reporting the presence of law enforcement officers in 2015-16 was 48 percent vs. 36 percent ten years earlier.

2) The percentage of public schools reporting the presence of a specially trained School Resource Officer was 42 percent vs. 32 percent ten years earlier.

3) Of schools in towns and suburban and rural areas that did report the presence of a law enforcement officer, 95 to 97 percent reported that those officers were armed.

Nearly half of the schools in the country report the presence of law enforcement officers. While it is certainly a significant budgetary issue, and needs to be discussed in light of that concern, it has been reported in many media outlets that Scarsdale is one of the wealthiest school districts in the country. That is not subject to interpretation or debate. See:

How is it then that we are in the bottom 50% when it comes to law enforcement protection for our schools?

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