PIATT COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — School leaders are concerned about a bill aimed at school resource officers. It would take officers out of schools and only bring them to school grounds in an emergency.
House bill 0029 was proposed Wednesday. It’s already been tabled, which means it probably won’t move until next year. Still, school leaders are afraid the idea behind it could re-surface.
“That’s not a bill that I would support, that our school district would support or Piatt County would support,” said Monticello Schools Superintendent Vic Zimmerman.
Lindsey Bross is an SRO for Piatt County Schools. “It’s just not going in there and being a disciplinary person. I’m always going in there saying hey how it’s going. I’m going into gym classes and playing basketball,” she said. Bross feels SRO’s help calm student’s fears surrounding law enforcement.
“This is the best way for students to see law enforcement,” she said. “The students like that, that I’m here, that you can see my squad car here. They know that they are safe.”
Monticello Superintendent Vic Zimmerman says this type of decision shouldn’t be up to state leaders.
“Any superintendent you talk to… if we have an SRO, we’d certainly be disappointed that legislatures in Springfield decide on our behalf that it’s not good for us because we’ve already decided on our own that we want an SRO, and the best decisions for school districts, I think, are made locally,” Zimmerman said. Bross agrees that keeping sro’s around is the best option for all.
“Bad stuff does happen, and I think, with us being there, hopefully it deters it a little bit,” said Bross.
The bill also outlines things that should happen if a student under 18 is questioned by officers. It says their parents should be notified, and a parent or someone like a school psychologist or school nurse should be there during the questioning.
The bill is sponsored by Representative Anne Stava-Murray. We reached out to her to learn more about why she supports it, but we haven’t heard back.