Tempe Union to phase out having police officers on campuses

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Another major Phoenix-area high school district has decided to stop having police officers assigned to its schools.

The Tempe Union High School District’s board voted 3-2 Wednesday night to have the Phoenix and Tempe police departments phase out assigning full-time school resource officers to the 14,000-student district’s campuses by next August.

Tempe Union’s decision follows Phoenix Union High School District’s similar move last year during unrest following the death of George Floyd while being restrained by Minneapolis police officers.

Some speakers addressing the Tempe Union board wanted to keep officers at schools while others wanted them replaced with counselors and psychologists.

Tempe Police Chief Jeff Glover said resource officers are of vital importance for the safety of students.

“The school SRO program has literally saved lives,” he said. “Many lives within the schools. The students are there with our school resource officers because our SROs are there building relationships with them.”

District officials cited research by the U.S. Dept. of Education which found that Black students in the district are three times more likely to be referred to law enforcement than white students, KSAZ-TV reported.

Tempe Union has six comprehensive high schools and one non-traditional school.

Republished with the permission of the Associated Press.