Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Is Anti-SRO Movement Politically Driven?

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Is Anti-SRO Movement Politically Driven?

I am very well acquainted with the SROs in the public schools of Montgomery County. I was a Montgomery County police officer for 26 years and a MCPS employee for ten years. I know what SROs do and what they don’t do.

There is no doubt in my mind that the drive to rid the schools of SROs is being driven by the anti-police sentiment that is sweeping the country due to incidents in other cities. None of that has happened in Montgomery County. A lot of the anti-SRO movement is politically driven by politicians who have their eyes on higher office.

Much has been made about the number of arrests made in schools. In fact most of the arrests are generated by teachers, principals, school security, and counselors. The SRO’s end up being credited with the arrests because they are the only people in the building authorized to make an arrest even though they had nothing to do with the investigation.

I saw the testimony of the nine students who testified about this matter. Two were middle school students and another was a ninth grader. None of the three had ever seen an SRO and obviously had no idea about their duties. Another made a wild accusation that she did not want her friends gunned down in the hallways of her school. Being young she has no idea that she has a much better chance of being shot by her fellow students than an SRO.

SRO’s act as counselors and role models in schools. Spend a day in a public school and watch who comes to the SRO for advice, when in crisis, to ask questions, and to report on the latest sports scores. They don’t go to teachers and counselors. They might see their counselors four times a year and in most cases the counselors don’t even know their names but the SROs surely know the students' names.

The council members, the school board, and the county executive have never spent a day inside one of our high schools. I’ve spent hundreds of days and know that we need the SRO program.

Jack Toomey