The Defund Police Movement is Dead at Fresno Unified

The Fresno Unified School Board voted last week to bring armed police officers back to its middle school campuses. It’s the latest sign that the tide is turning in the school resource officer debate.

FUSD was one of many school districts that chose not to renew its contract for school resource officers following the 2020 police killing of George Floyd In Minneapolis. The move was opposed by most parents at the time. A majority of students surveyed also said they felt less safe without officers on campus.

The school board revisited the issue in the wake of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas. The vote to bring SROs back to middle schools for the next school year was 6-1, with Veva Islas as the lone No vote. The board voted to bring cops back to high schools last year.

Under the prior contract, officers split their time 50-50 with the schools and neighborhoods. The new contract will place officers on campus full time at a cost of $1,017,761.

Critics raised issues about officer training and implicit bias. There were also questions raised about the contract, which requires FUSD to lease squad cars in addition to paying for the SROs’ time. 

Fresno is not the only district to have reversed course on SROs. Last November — just four months after defunding school police — the Pomona Unified school board voted to bring officers back to its campuses. The unanimous vote followed a shooting near Pomona High. In January, San Jose Unified also reversed a decision to remove officers from its campuses. 

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