United States Senator Elizabeth Warren filed legislation in July 2020 that would have banned federal funding for School Resource Officers (SROs) in local school districts.

The Massachusetts Democrat co-filed the "Counseling Not Criminalization in Schools Act" (CNCSA) with fellow Democrat Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut. The House version of the legislation was co-sponsored by Boston-area Democrat Ayanna Pressley and Democrat Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.

The legislation, according to the bill, sought to "divert federal funding away from supporting the presence of police in schools and towards evidence-based and trauma-informed services that address the needs of marginalized students and improve academic outcomes, and for other purposes."

Courtesy New Bedford Police Department
Courtesy New Bedford Police Department
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The bill states, "A growing body of research has not found any evidence that school resource officers make schools safer, and school resource officers have been shown to increase the likelihood that children will be arrested, often by the school resource officer on campus."

The legislation suggests that "Black, Native American, and Latinx students, immigrant students, students with disabilities, LGBTQ+ students, students experiencing homelessness, students involved in the foster care system, and other historically marginalized students" are unfairly surveilled by SROs, and that "the nation's schools have become sites for increased criminalization."

The City of New Bedford had a lengthy debate last year over whether to continue funding School Resource Officers. The local chapter of the NAACP and some community activists oppose the program, suggesting that minority children and the children of some immigrants are fearful of the police.

Submitted Photo
Submitted Photo
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Mayor Jon Mitchell supports the SRO program, and School Superintendent Thomas Anderson opted to keep it in place.

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