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4J school board to decide future of officers in schools tonight

Some are showing their support for keeping school resource officers and others are calling for their removal.

Posted: Jun 17, 2020 1:38 PM
Updated: Jun 17, 2020 7:03 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- The 4J school board will be making a decision tonight about its current contract with the Eugene Police Department.

Across the community, the role officers play in schools has been called into question, with some strongly supporting keeping school resource officers and others marching for their removal.

RELATED: ROLE OF OFFICERS IN 4J, BETHEL SCHOOLS CALLED INTO QUESTION

In Eugene School District 4J, there are four school resource officers and one sergeant spread out across the district's high schools. The current contract began July 1, 2019, and expires at the end of June.

MORE: 4J SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER SUPPORTS REMOVING SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICERS

Maurie Denner is a retired 4J principal. 

"That rapport builds confidence in the school personnel, and it builds relationship with the students," Denner said.

Denner said that he has witnessed several situations over the years that show the benefit of school resource officers.

"The hope is that we can restore some confidence in law enforcement because right now it's shaken," Denner said. "I think it's shaken on both sides. I think law enforcement is feeling constrained and constricted when everybody micromanages and watches your job."

Others feel much differently.

“Having cops on school campus makes a lot of children of color feel uncomfortable coming to school,” Eugene resident Sarah Champoux said. “It can decrease their attendance rate. The graduation rate goes down once there’s cops in schools. I want to come out here and show my support for that.”

Sabrina Gordon is the president of the Eugene Education Association.

“While some students feel safer having police as staff in their schools, some students don't," Gordon said. "This decision will definitely have implications. But again, student safety is of utmost importance. Regardless of the decision our school board makes tonight, districts will make sure that there are plans in place for students to be safe.”

The board meeting begins at 6 p.m. Stay with KEZI 9 News for the result of the meeting.

Public comment will be received by email only. Email board@4j.lane.edu and label the subject line as: “Public Comment.”

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