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In Reversal, San Jose Unified School District Poised To Allow Police Officers Back On Campuses

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – The San Jose Unified School District is set to temporarily allow police officers back on campus during school hours, while the district studies the issue and crafts a more permanent policy.

On Thursday night, SJUSD board members are scheduled to approve funding for 27 officers to be paid $8,000 each, a total of $216,000, to provide police services to the district until June 30, 2022.

For now, each individual school will have the option to submit a request for a school resource officer to be stationed on campus for special events, and during class hours. The officers will not patrol the campus, but will respond to areas of the school grounds as needed.

It's a marked change from the summer. Following the wave of demands for social justice across much of the nation, SJUSD board members voted to boot officers off all campuses.

But by August 2021, the board voted unanimously to bring officers back for security during special events, like football games and dances.

And then in December, the district approved a "Memorandum Of Agreement Between The City Of San Jose And The District Regarding San Jose Police Department Services On Campuses", that outlined the rules of and responsibilities of officers while on campus.

Highlights include:

-Officers wearing school uniforms, not SJPD uniforms

-"Whenever possible, services such as counseling shall be offered in lieu of issuing a criminal citation to a minor"

-"Student disciplinary matters remain the responsibility of school staff and not officers"

-The SROs will receive training on de-escalation, implicit bias, and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Strategies.

Also in December, the board created an Advisory Committee On Use Of SJPD Officers, to further study the issue of cops on campus.

"Concerns have been raised about the District's use of SJPD officers, both officers paid by the District and officers responding to calls for service from the District.  The Board is establishing this committee to review that use, determine what elements of that use could be performed by non-law enforcement personnel, and identify possible alternatives to that use.  To better support the District's holistic approach to school safety, the advisory committee may make recommendations regarding Board policy." according a staff write-up.

Until then, individual school campuses would have discretion to request School Resource Officers for their campus.

Crystal Calhoun, with San Jose Unified Equity Coalition, who successfully got officers removed from all SJUSD campuses back in June 2021, was disappointed with the temporary return of officers to campus.

"If it was my thing, I'd hire 27 counselors. And now I'd be looking at more teachers of color, more counselors of color, special studies, special education. It's a lot of money," Calhoun told KPIX 5. "There's a lot of things you could do with $200,000, rather than keep paying the police."

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