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Norman Police Department, Norman Public Schools to host panel on Student Resource Officer program

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A Norman Police Department squad car sits outside the police department March 31, 2018. 

The Norman Police Department will host a panel discussion on the School Resource Officer program Thursday at 7 p.m. 

The School Resource Officer program is fairly new to schools in Norman. According to the Norman Public Schools’ website, the SRO program was implemented in 2014 as a law enforcement team in charge of the safety and security of schools across the Norman district. 

According to the NPD Twitter page, the panel will include a Q&A session with representatives from NPD, Norman Public Schools and the Cleveland County District Attorney’s office.

A community activist group who oppose the SRO program, Norman Citizens for Racial Justice, posted a resource guide on their social media highlighting what they said are failures of the SRO program. According to the group’s Facebook page, NC4RJ said it hopes the upcoming panel will demonstrate to the public that “NPS kids need care, not cops.” One of the group’s goals is to end the SRO program within Norman Public Schools, as well as defund and demilitarize the NPD

According to the resource guide provided by NC4RJ and sourced from the NPD’s use-of-force data, Black students are three times more likely to be named in a SRO incident report. The guide reports Black students are five times more likely to be contacted by the NPD for truancy while only making up six percent of the Norman Public School population. 

“We need (to) do more than merely take a poll about SRO popularity,” NC4RJ wrote in the document. “If SROs benefit some students and harm others, we need to pay attention to who benefits and who pays.”

The link to the event will be available at 7 p.m. through NPD social media, according to an NPD spokesperson.

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