Spokane Schools to focus on crisis management with new safety plan

SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane Public Schools is working on a new safety plan, and changing the role of campus resource officers. 

Those officers won’t be allowed to arrest students anymore. Instead, they’ll be referred to as safety and wellness specialists. 

The District says some of the current campus resource officers are being trained for their new position, which will focus on social-emotional wellness and crisis management. 

SPS is focusing on equity and safety. 

“We’re putting a much more of a focus around a proactive approach to safety where we’re really putting an emphasis on the social, emotional piece with our students,” said Shawn Jordan, executive director for SPS secondary schools.

The wellness specialists won’t wear uniforms, and they can’t arrest students. However, police will still be called during certain situations. 

These changes are getting mixed reactions. One North Central junior said having a campus resource officer at her school makes her and other classmates feel safe. 

“I think their relationship that they can have with students can be really be beneficial and can help foster a safer school environment,” said student Ivy Pete. 

The 16-year-old doesn’t think students should be arrested, but she’d feel more comfortable with a campus resource officer taking a classmate into custody rather than an unfamiliar face. 

“Hopefully I would think that no officers would have to make arrests, but in the event that there was an arrest, I would rather have it be him than an outside police officer, absolutely,” said Pete. 

District officials say they have been talking with Spokane Police as they develop this safety plan and say the department is supportive of the decision.

READ: Spokane Schools details new safety plan and what changes your child can expect