Seattle and Edmonds school districts vote out officers from schools

The Edmonds School District and Seattle Public Schools announced they will remove law enforcement from schools.

Both districts say the reason for the change is to make students feel safe.

The Edmonds School Board voted to remove School Resource Officers from three high schools.

Edmonds School District officials say they are still reviewing the contract they have with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office who are contracted at Lynnwood High School, and will make a decision in August.

“It did come down to them (the school board), each of them, individually, hearing from students who felt either hurt, traumatized, or have some sort of negative impact from having police presence on campus,” said Harmony Weinberg the communications manager for the Edmonds School District.

Weinberg says currently officers are a key factor in the district’s safety plans; removing the SROS from the plan leaves a gap that needs to be filled, and right now, there is no specific plan on how to do that.

“Why would you remove your safety plan without a tentative plan,” said Carrie Bennett whose son attends Lynnwood High School.

Edmonds Police Chief Jim Lawless posted a statement following the vote. In part he says:

“…I believe that this decision was borne out of emotion, not data, and was hastily undertaken. I am disappointed that this process was not more deliberative and inclusive of all parties involved.”

His full statement can be read here.

Weinberg says a big part of the board’s decision comes from parents and students who said they would feel safer if officers were removed. Online, the topic is divisive with both support and concerns from parents.

Seattle Public Schools also is removing officers from schools.

Tim Robinson, with Seattle Public Schools, says there will not be a gap in safety for SPS with this decision, because police officers were not in Seattle Public Schools for safety.

In a statement, SPD responded saying, “Our School Emphasis Officers value the relationships they have developed with students and faculty on campuses across the city. The Seattle Police Department will continue to be a resource for our schools and communities.”