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SBCSC to conduct survey on resource officers in schools

Updated: Jun. 1, 2021 at 6:10 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Last month, some community activists called for the removal of all police officers from South Bend schools.

Such a move could cost Adams High a head football coach.

Adams school resource officer Anton Jones doubles as the football coach and as the coach of a unified track team that will compete for a state championship on Saturday.

“I think people have an image of a guy walking around some type of authoritarian type of presence, and it’s just not the case,” said Adams security guard Kenneth Butler.

Butler is a retired South Bend firefighter who has worked as a security guard at Adams for 12 years. Over time he has developed an appreciation for the school resource officer. “He’s responsible for hundreds of kids every year. They’re required to get to the class on time, and the behavior has to be above and beyond, and they’re graduating. They’re not getting in trouble, and most of those are African American students.”

Butler feels the call to get rid of resource officers in South Bend is mis-guided. “Their biggest point seems to be the lack, some kids, African American kids are uncomfortable with police being in the building. I don’t think that’s true,” Butler told 16 News Now. “You can’t trade, comfort, school safety for comfort. If the only issue is the comfort of some students, we can make you comfortable, but we can’t make you safe here by taking a police officer out of the school.”

If the worst were to happen at Adams, Butler says he’d rather the response came from officers inside than outside the building. “You want someone who knows the building, knows the dynamic of maybe what’s going on. If you don’t have that in the building, now you’ve got officers coming in and they don’t now the kids, don’t know the building. It’s just more of an opportunity for something to go bad.”

The school district plans to conduct a community survey to gage public opinion on school resource officers.

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