Spokane Schools to discuss new safety model; Resource officers replaced by staff that will no longer arrest students

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SPOKANE, Wash – A new equity resolution passed by the Spokane School Board earlier this summer has one especially controversial piece that the district will discuss with parents this week: school district employees would no longer be able to arrest students.

That changes the previous model, where campus resource officers were commissioned officers, technically employed by the district. Under the equity resolution, the campus resource officers are replaced by Safety and Wellness Specialists to “focus on proactive social-emotional wellness and assist with supervision of facilities and crisis management.” The specialists will are non-commissioned positions that will not arrest students.

According to the district, it will employ one safety and wellness administrator “that will maintain a limited police commission to communicate with the Spokane Police Department and determine when SPD will be contacted regarding a non-crisis student issue.”

The district will “continue to contact the Spokane Police Department in crisis situations and develop strategies to maintain high levels of communication and fast response times.”

RELATED COVERAGE: Board members unanimously pass resolution to establish racial equity in Spokane Schools

Parents, students and district employees have commented about the change at recent school board meetings. Some expressed support, saying students should feel free to come to school without fear of being arrested on things like warrants or other non-crisis issues. Others have expressed concerns that the change would put students, staff and faculty at risk.

The district is holding two webinars this week to discuss the issue. The first is Tuesday night at 6:30. The second is Friday at noon.

You can find out more information and register for the webinars here.