URBANA, Ill. (WCIA)– A petition is asking for the removal of school resource officers from the Urbana District. Last year the school board approved an agreement to hire two full-time resource officers. It was estimated to cost around $325,000 a year. However, not everyone thinks they should stick around.
Ameena Payne graduated from Urbana High School in 2007. She now lives in Australia. Payne has family in Urbana and still visits at least once a year. She helped draft a petition for the removal of the officers.
“There’s no evidence SROs actually benefit learners and improve learning outcomes. In fact, all of the evidence points otherwise,” said Payne. She says the money used to pay for SROs would be better redistributed and used for support such as black, minority, and trauma informed educators as well as counselors.
The Urbana Police Department says SROs are vital in working with staff and students to anticipate issues before small things become big things. They also help with relationship building. Petition supporters hope to present it to the school board and city leaders before a meeting on the district’s budget plans.