(WFSB) – A newly released video by Senator Chris Murphy is calling to eliminate school resource officers and police officers from schools.
Murphy says there’s evidence officers don’t make schools safer.
The bill was just introduced on Thursday by Murphy and three other lawmakers. He says if we are going to tackle racial inequities in our education system, getting police out of schools is a necessary first step.
“It’s time to get police officers out of our schools,” Murphy said. “The evidence shows these officers don’t make our schools and safer. In fact, research has shown [they] can increase physical danger to young people.”
Murphy says students are getting arrested for minor things at schools.
“Tens of thousands of kids are arrested at school every single year and a disproportionate number of those students are Black and Latino,” Murphy said.
Wolcott's Police Chief Ed Stephens disagrees with Murphy.
There are three SROs in their school systems and he says police officers and SROs are beneficial.
"Our function in the school is to protect the students from outsiders coming into the school. That's the number one function to keeping those children safe," Chief Stephens said.
Chief Stephens says they're also there to build relationships with students.
"Their function to is build a rapport with students. We don't want children in schools to be afraid of the police, we want to see them as a friend. It's like the old beat cop in the neighborhood. They're the beat cops in the schools," Chief Stephens said.
Stratford’s superintendent, Janet Robinson, says she sees both sides. She was on a phone call with Murphy last week and voiced her opinions.
“My way of looking at SROs is let’s show students as they’re growing up that police officers are interested in their well-being,” Robinson said.
Robinson is the former Newtown superintendent and was the superintendent during the Sandy Hook school shooting.
After 20 students and 6 staff members were killed, there was a huge push to get more police and SROs in schools.
Murphy says that push started in 1999 after the Columbine School shooting.
"Since then, the federal government has invested over $1 billion for police in our schools," Murphy said.
Robinson says she doesn’t want kids to get arrested.
“The officer really has to be able to identify with the kids and really be personable and so that I’ve seen, I’ve seen a very successful SRO and it’s phenomenal. I’ve seen several successful ones and that does matter,” Robinson said.
She says the school resource officers should also have friendly relationships with students.
“I have an SRO in one of my schools and walks into the cafeteria at lunch time and high five him, they talk to him, he can talk to the kids if the kids have a little problem. Just talk to them about it,” Robinson said.
Channel 3 reached out to Murphy, but he hasn’t returned our requests for comment.