School Resource Officer (SRO) Program

  • Community Input on School Safety & Security Staff Program

    Second Substitute House Bill 1216 (2019–20) Session Law created requirements and definitions around an optional School Resource Officer (SRO) Program. The Program was codified into state law as RCW 28A.320.124.

    Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1214 (2021–22) Session Law expanded and clarified the previous legislation to include all school safety and security staff personnel. Thus, the name of the SRO Program has been expanded to the School Safety and Security Staff Program.

    The legislature notes that schools should be a place in which all youth feel safe. With racial equity as a central component of safety and security planning, it is imperative that all school safety and security staff not contribute to an unsafe environment for Black youth and youth of color.

    On June 8, 2021, the KSD School Board held a public work session to learn more about School Resource Officers (SROs) in Kent School District. KSD has also posted detailed information about What an SRO is, What KDS School Resource Officers Do, KSD School Resource Officer Training, and Implementation on this page that addresses questions and comments from the June 2021 Thoughtexchange.

    On August 19, 2021, the KSD School board held a public listening session to hear concerns about safety and returning to in-person learning including the SRO program. 

    2021-22 Listening Sessions

    KSD listening sessions bring together a group of people to discuss a specific issue. KSD will hold six safety-specific listening sessions to get feedback on our SRO program in the 2021-22 school year, in addition to survey and thoughtexchange opportunities. These sessions are an opportunity for KSD students, families, and/or community members to share their thoughts and ideas.

    KSD Student Listening Sessions, October 11-22

    • Kentlake HS Strand, Date and Time TBA
    • Kentridge HS Strand, Date and Time TBA
    • Kent-Meridian HS Strand, Date and Time TBA
    • Kentwood HS Strand, Date and Time TBA

    KSD Family and Community Listening Sessions

    • KSD Listening Session, April 19, 5:30-7:30 PM
    • KSD Listening Session, April 21, 11:30 am - 1:30 pm

    Listening Sessions will be virtual, links and additional details will be available at www.kent.k12.wa.us/SRO.

    What is an SRO?

    A School Resource Officer (SRO) is a police officer or sheriff's deputy assigned to work in a school.

    Legal Definition

    The formal definition of an SRO according to Washington legislation is as follows:

    "A School Resource Officer (SRO) is a commissioned law enforcement officer in the state of Washington with sworn authority to make arrests, deployed in community-oriented policing, and assigned by the employing police department or sheriff's office to work in schools to address crime and disorder problems, gangs, and drug activities affecting or occurring in or around K-12 schools. School resource officers should focus on keeping students out of the criminal justice system when possible and should not be used to attempt to impose criminal sanctions in matters that are more appropriately handled within the educational system."

    What do Kent School District (KSD) SROs Do?

    In actual practice, SROs perform a wide variety of vital services for schools, students, and administrators that goes far beyond this simple definition, including (among others):

    Primary Duties

    • Emergency response to all KSD schools
    • Contacting of non-students, adults, and criminal situations on and near school campuses
    • Assisting students who are potential victims of crimes
    • Safe Schools Emergency Preparedness planning and training for schools
    • Assisting in emergency drills and lockdowns for state compliance
    • Participation in Threat Assessment teams
    • Welfare checks
    • Building strong positive relationships with students

    Secondary Duties

    • Participate in career days and family nights
    • Graduation planning and coverage, monitoring events, dances, and football games at French Field
    • Police Explore Programs for youth 14-21
    • Participate in restorative justice circles

    KSD School Resource Officer Training

    With the passing of RCW 28A.320.124 (2019-20), the legislature stated its intent to create statewide school resource officers (SRO) program. 

    While it is not the intent of the legislature to require school resource officers in schools, SRO programs must ensure district policies are in place and that there are clear agreements between school districts and the local law enforcement agencies which provide SROs.

    In addition, such a program must ensure consistency through minimum training requirements for SROs. These requirements are in place to establish effective partnerships which protect the health and safety of all students.

    12 Training Areas Required by Washington State Law (RCW 28A.320.124)

    1. Constitution & Civil Rights of Children in School
    2. Child Adolescent Development (Adolescent Brain Development)
    3. Trauma-Informed Approaches
    4. Recognition and Responding to Youth Mental Health Issues
    5. Educational Rights of Students with Disabilities; Disability and Behavior; Best Practices for Interacting With Students With Disabilities
    6. Collateral Consequences of Arrest, Referral for Prosecution & Court Involvement
    7. Community Resources: Alternatives to Arrest & Prosecution; Pathways to Access Services w/o court or Criminal Justice Involvement
    8. Disparities in the Use of Force and Arrests of Children
    9. De-Escalation Techniques
    10. Restraint and Isolation in Schools
    11. Bias-Free Policing; Cultural Competency; Diversity Training
    12. Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

    It is the responsibility of law enforcement agencies to see that their SROs have the appropriate training. It is the responsibility of school districts to verify that this training has taken place before engaging an officer as an SRO.

    A clear statement regarding school resource officer duties and responsibilities related to student behavior and discipline including:

    • Prohibition of a school resource officer from becoming involved in formal school discipline situations that are the responsibility of school administrators.
    • Acknowledgment of the role of a school resource officer as a teacher, informal counselor, and law enforcement officer.
    • Recognition that a trained school resource officer knows when to informally interact with students to reinforce school rules and when to enforce the law.
    • School district policy and procedures that clarify the circumstances under which teachers and school administrators may ask an officer to intervene with a student.
    • Annual collection and reporting of data regarding calls for law enforcement service and the outcome of each call, including student arrest and referral for prosecution. Data must be disaggregated by school, offense type, race, gender, age, and students who have an individualized education program or 504 plan.
    • A process for families to file complaints with the school and local law enforcement agency related to school resource officers and a process for investigating and responding to complaints.

    More SRO Information & Resources

Last Modified on August 25, 2021