KENT, Wash. — Students and staff arrived at Kent schools on Thursday for the first day of the 2021-22 school year along with school resource officers (SRO) who were also welcomed back.
The Kent City Council and Kent School Board approved a contract to bring two Kent police officers back to split their time at four different schools
The final stamp of approval came after Wednesday night's school board meeting where there was concern from some school board members who did not think police officers should be on school campuses.
One school board member said students should be a part of the discussion.
A Kent-Meridian High School graduate was also at the meeting to urge the school board to vote against the contract.
"Cops in schools don't keep kids out of the criminal justice system [like] the contract suggests, but instead, the presence of cops in schools brings criminal justice into the schools, into interacting with students," she said. "Police in schools means policing our kids. That is their purpose, that is their job."
Three school boards members voted in favor of the contact. One of those members said it's a good idea to promote interaction between school resource officers and students.
"The interactions that I saw with SROs, for the most part, were kids asking to talk to them when they could not talk to other people," she said. "In particular, talking about kids of color. My kids are kids of color, and I have mentored kids of color [that] have had positive interactions with SROs."