Portland Board of Public Education still deciding fate of student resource officers in two local high schools


As of 10:45 p.m Tuesday night, leaders in Portland are still meeting to determine whether or not to remove resource officers from two high schools

PORTLAND, Maine — As of 10:45 p.m Tuesday night, leaders in Portland are still meeting to determine whether or not to remove resource officers (SRO) from Deering and Portland High School.

Superintendent Xavier Botana recommended the school board get rid of SROs. More than $150,000 is built into the district’s budget for the officers. Botana says those funds would go to programs like supporting security at large events and de-escalation training for staff.

“We are prioritizing order over student learning and we are prioritizing the safety of some over the trauma of others and it’s in that context that I believe that we need to move away from the SRO program at this point, and begin to do the other work we need to do regardless,” said Botana.

Board member Sarah Thompson put forth an amendment to extend the police department relationship for one year and further study the issue. That proposed resolution has recommendations from a report on school-based police by the Culter Institute.

“As a result of continued emails and calls to the board from the community at large and specifically from students and staff of the Portland Public Schools concerned about the rush to remove the SRO’s without engagement. And it has been done during the time school has been released and not to mention a world wide pandemic,” said Thompson.

Two students from Portland High School started a petition in support of their SROs, but two parents with students in the school district have also collected more than 1,000 signatures in opposition. 

This story will be updated. 

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