Portland mom starts petition to bring back school resource officers

Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 5:30 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - A mother in Portland is taking matters into her own hands by launching a petition to reinstate school resource officers.

Kristen Downs has four children who attend PPS schools. In January, there was a shooting at Franklin High School that left one boy injured. That’s when Downs created a petition that has nearly 700 signatures in favor of Security Resource Officers on campus.

“I decided enough was enough we needed to start a petition so that PPS could hear from the voices of parents and community members and teachers and students who have been silenced and haven’t been talk to you about the school safety issue,” says Downs.

It reads in part: “A trained daily security presence, along with existing supports, would act as a criminal deterrent while keeping our communities safe from gun violence and illicit drugs.”

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The petition also says removing SROs was a mistake says her child remembers having SROs on campus.

“I would feel the tremendously more secure,” says Downs. “[SROs] joked with kids had lunchtime conversations with kids, attended PIL games, concerts and events. These are positive forces in our school Community.”

Student School Board Representative, and senior at Cleveland High School, Byronie McMahon, says SROs are not the answer and can have an negative impact on the learning environment.

“Bringing in a police officer is going to cause uncertainty or uncomfortable feelings for students that are in the building already and I also think how will it make students feel regarding their learning,” says McMahon.

Since October 2022, there have been four shooting incidents near school buildings, injuring three students in total- and McMahon says students have made the effort to return to school.

“It really speaks through resilience of our student body and the fact that students are able to come back and continue learning many times even two days after an incident has occurred,” says McMahon. “They just want to feel like things are going back to normal and they’re in an environment that they know that they care about.”

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“Can you put a price on human life and safety?” says Downs. “I for one have had students sign this petition who would feel safer.”

PPS says they have been discussing the issue for quite a while and they continue to be opened minded. They say there are multiple things to consider and are investigating all options.

The petition can be found by clicking here.