FUHSD Student Resource Officers

Graphic Courtesy of ClipGround

Graphic Courtesy of ClipGround

Student/neighborhood resources officers (SROs/NROs) are one of the resources available to FUHSD students. SROs are police officers that are specially trained to build a relationship with students and educate them by also serving as an educator and counselor. Topics that SROs may educate students about include cybersecurity, bullying and substance abuse. Additionally, as an officer, they may aid the district with event planning and enforcement, emergency response planning, critical incident response and comprehensive school safety plans.

For over 15 years, the FUHSD SROs program has worked with both the Sunnyvale Public Safety and the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department. SROs aim to offer different services to the district such as crime prevention patrols, crime investigation, traffic enforcement and other types of law enforcement. They may be called in situations such as severe crimes involving sexual assault, felony-level fight and bomb threats.

The different models of SROs include on campus officers and on-call officers. On campus officers are located on campus, whereas officers that are on call may serve multiple schools. Currently, FUHSD has an on call model with two to three officers serving all schools in the district. Currently, FUHSD’s contract for SROs has been renewed for the coming years.

Riya Ranjan is a twelfth grader that is a member of a student equity research class at MVHS, and also helps lead the student equity task force at her school. For this course, she is working on a project to look into and help improve the SRO program for schools.

For this project, Ranjan has aggregated all suspension data from FUHSD. She noticed a huge disparity between which students were from different demographics: latinx and black students were suspended at an alarmingly higher rate.

Ranjan’s project, as well as the student equity task forces around the district, have been working to combat the disconnect between SROs and how students feel about it.

“Many view student officers as a threatening force, while SROs find themselves as a resource,” Ranjan said.

While it is clear that the disconnect is present, Ranjan’s focus groups have shown that students have still expressed interest in wanting a better relationship with SROs so they can be a trusted adult and a resource, not only a police officer administering the law.

SROs also strive to be seen as a trusted adult as well. From one of Ranjan’s focus groups, an SRO expressed that they “want schools to be able to see the person behind the badge.” This way, more FUHSD students may be able to utilize SROs

For Ranjan’s project, her next steps are to partner with deputies from the Sheriff’s Department and utilize student perspectives to help design and implement sensitivity training to get SROs more integrated into the school environment as a trusted adult to students, not just an officer that takes disciplinary actions. This sensitivity training is aimed to allow SROs to be able to understand and connect with students more.

“Hopefully, as the years pass, by looking at those results, we can see what else needs to be done in terms of continual improvement,” Ranjan said. “Because I don’t think this is a one time thing, equity work is always ongoing.”