Letter to the editor: Lookout needs to present the whole story on SROs: They will not keep our kids safe

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To the editor: In both Parkland, Florida, and Uvalde, Texas, mass shootings happened with horrific consequences at schools with school resource officers. SROs are not the answer to keeping our children safe. A recent Lookout article about last month’s Pajaro Valley Unified School District board’s decision to approve a program pairing an armed police officer (SRO) and a mental health clinician (MHC) at its three comprehensive high schools left out some key details.

First, the PVUSD school board based its 2020 decision to remove SROs on data showing no evidence that SROs improve school safety; in fact, SROs have been shown to cause harm, particularly to students of color, students with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Second, we have serious concerns about the survey results, which the board used to justify its decision. Our concerns include:

  • Associate Superintendent Kristin Shouse sent the survey by email only and gave families just a few days to respond. She sent it Thursday and school was closed Monday. That left out too many people to be “representative.”
  • The survey questions all referred to the “team,” leaving no opportunity to address SROs and MHCs separately.
  • The schools did not separate the findings between the schools, so the public had no way of knowing if the results differed between them.

Readers need all the information on this issue and Lookout should provide it.

Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) Santa Cruz County
Pam Sexton, Susan Kohen, Erin Wood, Angelee Dion, Natasha Fraley, Meghan Radford
Santa Cruz and Watsonville