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Pleasanton school resource officer presence to be debated in joint meeting

The Pleasanton City Council will hold a joint meeting with trustees of the Pleasanton Unified School District on Thursday evening to discuss the presence of police officers on school campuses.

Since 2002, Pleasanton police have provided three full-time student resource officers to the city’s K-12 schools, with the intention of adding a level of security and serving as liaisons between the district and police.

According to a staff report for Thursday’s meeting, between 2015 and 2019, Pleasanton police responded to an average of 1,089 calls annually for service at city schools.

The program came under additional scrutiny after protests over the 2020 murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin. The City Council responded to one such rally in Pleasanton by holding a series of meetings to engage the community on policing in Pleasanton. One of the questions brought up was the necessity of police officers at schools.

Earlier this year, the school district surveyed the community about the issue. The majority of respondents — 1,240 parents/guardians, 638 students and 378 staff members were surveyed — were in favor of keeping the SROs.

However, some respondents mentioned the need for more positive interactions between officers and students. Some said there should be more officers, while some said officers should be better trained in mental health issues and anti-bias, anti-bullying and anti-racism strategies.

The district has put together a draft memorandum of understanding with the Police Department that will be discussed at Thursday’s meeting. The MOU seeks to reset a baseline of expectations on both sides and provides a framework for annual check-ins between trustees and police, with the possibility of changes each year.

A meeting staff report said:

“The SRO program has long been a fixture in Pleasanton, and as reflected by the PUSD survey, has overall contributed to stronger relationships with the police department and PUSD students, staff and parents. Similar to other programs, there is room for improvement.”

The city and the school district both aim to officially adopt the MOU by November.

The meeting starts at 6 p.m. Those wishing to speak on the matter can go to https://forms.cityofpleasantonca.gov/f/SpeakerCard. The meeting can be watched on the city’s YouTube channel or on Zoom.


Editor’s Note: The presence of school resource officers is under heightened scrutiny this week following a Monday shooting incident in Long Beach where an SRO shot 18-year-old Mona Rodriguez as she was driving away from the scene of an earlier physical but unarmed altercation with a student. Rodriguez was gravely injured and is currently on life support.
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