Prince William Co. Public Schools Proposal: Petty Crimes Should Be Addressed by Principals, Not Police

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Principals, rather than school resource officers, would deal with minor offenses in middle and high schools, under a revised student resource officer agreement between Prince William County Public Schools and the county police department.

Principals, rather than school resource officers, would deal with minor offenses in middle and high schools, under a revised student resource officer agreement between public schools in Prince William County in Virginia and the county police department.

The school system is seeking public comments on the proposed memorandum of understanding until December 30.



Prince William County is the latest DC region jurisdiction to consider improvements in the way school systems and police services interact. A school resource officer is a sworn police officer, trained and assigned to work with school administrators to provide a safe learning environment.

According to the proposed MOU: “The goal of the PD and the PWCS is that children are not unnecessarily exposed to the criminal justice system. Therefore, it will be agreed that any minor criminal behavior committed by a child in the school setting will be dealt with by the administration of PWCS.

During his first year as Prince William County Police Chief, after leaving Washington, DC, Peter Newsham worked to improve relations between the increasingly diverse department and county by se focusing, in part, on diversity.

One of the goals of Prince William County and other jurisdictions is to seek restorative justice opportunities, in which a student who has caused minor damage – for example, a petty theft – makes amends, without the police intervention.

“In the event that an SRO is required or requested to get involved to restore peace or for security reasons, an SRO supervisor will be notified. In collaboration, the administration of the school; the OAR; and the ORS supervisor (s) will decide which course of action to take in the best interests of the child, victim, school and community, ”according to the proposed agreement.

The revised memorandum would continue to allow SROs to interview students without parental consent.

“When ORS helps, at the request of school authorities, to investigate a school-related incident or any incident that may have potential consequences for the safety of students or school employees, they may question the students. without parental consent, ”according to the proposed MOU.

“Examples of incidents that may have potential consequences for the safety of students and employees of PWCS include student brawls that may result in retaliation, threats against students or employees, gang-related offenses such as beating. and injury and bullying, or possession of drugs or weapons on school property or during school-related activities.

The Prince William County SRO agreement provides for the school system to continue to provide private office space for the ORS, including a computer for school use, a printer, a secure file, and weapons storage. .

Some school systems, including the City of Alexandria and County of Arlington, have voted to avoid having ORSs in school buildings on a daily basis, choosing to have them served as needed.

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