UPDATE: Here’s the latest on SROs. It appears the idea to go with something other than an HPD presence on campus is no longer on the table.
Some information that didn’t make it to the story:
This was a murky situation. There was no information available from the district about the incident that prompted the discussions of revisions to the SRO contract, which in turn was the basis for looking at alternatives to using HPD officers. At the December school board meeting, the item was pulled from the consent calendar for discussion and the agenda had no indication that there were revisions in the works. Legally, there’s no problem there. The board wasn’t set to vote on any changes to the contract or make any kind of decision. It was pulled for discussion and direction.
At that meeting, available for viewing below, staff was directed to look at alternatives to using HPD officers. From Reynoso’s comments, it appeared to be a budget issue. Gonzales talked about student rights in regard to search and seizure and interrogation, and the need for the district to have a say in selecting SROs — something that HPD has since said has always been the case.
Heredia and Frumkin — the board members on the committee that has been meeting with police — both spoke about the contract negotiations, but neither specified what the alterations are or why they are being sought.
Heredia declined to comment about the matter on Wednesday and deferred it to administration.
“The only comment I have is that the district wants a resolution that is favorable to both parties,” she said. “We as a district care about the safety of children.”
The new interim superintendent — on the job since Monday — did not want to comment Wednesday on the April 2009 matter because it happened long before she took the reins.
The April 2009 matter was brought before the public by Police Chief Ron Ace, who responded to the district to explain why the revisions are unacceptable in the letter available below. He reiterated his comments at this week’s City Council meeting.
For decades, Hayward police officers have served as School Resource Officers on high school and jr. high campuses, something that “has been highly successful in improving safety of students,” according to City Manager Greg Jones.
However, at a HUSD meeting last month, trustees asked administrators to review the current arrangement and come back with a “Option B,” possibly utilizing more security hired by, and who would answer to, the school district.
That idea didn’t sit well with some parents, who don’t want HUSD to be in charge of overseeing the safety of their kids. They have said that the cost of the SROs is well worth it, to have an HPD presence on campuses.
Trustees raised other issues, including the selection of SROs. Board member Sarah Gonzales said they should have some say in selecting school officers, looking for ones “with more of a propensity for working with youth” and also wanted clearer language to ensure the Educational Code is followed regarding search and seizure and rules pertaining to the interrogation of youth.
You can watch the recorded meeting here. The issue begins at the 44 minute mark.
The City Manager recently backed statements by Police Chief Ron Ace, who sent HUSD a letter in November. At tonight’s Council meeting, Ace will be giving an update on what’s going on with the agreement. HUSD is supposed to go over alternatives at its Jan. 13 board meeting.
Read on for the full text of Ace’s letter to the district. We’ll have an update on the update after tonight’s meeting.
Read the rest of this entry »