Rep. Comstock Calls For Increased Funding For School Resource Officers
Washington, DC – Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (R-VA) released the following statement regarding increasing funding for School Resource Officers (SRO):
“Every parent, teacher, student, and citizen across the country shares the grief of families in Parkland. Every day my husband and sister, like hundreds of thousands of teachers and students across the country, walk into our local public high schools to pursue academic excellence. I come from a family of educators and I have always been strongly committed to every school in the country being safe from gun violence. Any crime or violence in our schools affects all of us in our schools, our communities, and throughout the country.
“As we address the many ways in which we can stop gun violence, I am working to include added funding for an important resource – our School Resource Officers. For years my husband, as an Assistant Principal, worked with School Resource Officers in Fairfax County Schools. School Districts across the region have School Resource Officers who are sworn law enforcement officers who are properly trained and armed to protect the schools and students they are assigned to serve. These law enforcement officers are presented with opportunities on a daily basis to help a child out of a bad situation or to help a child turn their lives around and to work with their families and school community to provide support.
“According to the National Association of School Resource Officers, ‘SRO programs across the nation are founded as collaborative efforts by police agencies, law enforcement officers, educators, students, parents, and communities. The goal of NASRO and SRO programs is to provide safe learning environments in our nation’s schools, provide valuable resources to school staff, foster a positive relationship with our nation’s youth, and develop strategies to resolve problems affecting our youth with the objective of protecting every child so they can reach their fullest potential. School-based policing is one of the fastest growing area of law enforcement.’ Our veterans often make up the population that serve in these important roles in our schools.
“These officers become an important part of the institution they serve by being integrated into the school community and working to de-escalate situations whether it be school violence, student alienation, drug related problems, gangs, or bullying. In 2013, in response to the Sandy Hook tragedy, the Virginia General Assembly and the Governor came together to identify ways we could increase school safety and we increased funding for school security including a School Officer Grant Initiative and created a revolving fund to provide for security infrastructure projects in schools throughout the Commonwealth. SROs have been found to reduce the incidence of violence and crime at our schools.
“Over the past several days as I have talked with local law enforcement and Mo Canady, Executive Director of the National Association of School Resource Officers Association, it is apparent that school resource officers are an important part of the solution to stopping school violence that can be expanded in our schools as well as schools around the Commonwealth and the country. Many schools still do not have the benefit of SROs. These important officers, not only protect our schools, but, are also the eyes and ears for local law enforcement to make sure that those who want to harm our children are stopped before they are able to perpetrate a crime. That is why I will be working to add more funding for this important resource. This is only one aspect of the improvements we can make and I will work with my colleagues on a bipartisan basis to find other solutions as we continue to work on school safety issues.
“I am sending the linked letter to Chairman Culberson and Ranking Member Serrano of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science at the House Appropriations Committee to advocate for increased, robust funding by the Community Orientated Police Services (COPS) grants and direct more funding to SROs.”