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Community group wants to eliminate school resource officers

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Posted at 9:37 PM, Oct 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-27 09:32:23-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn (WTVF) — When we think about police reform the setting isn't usually a school. But Safer Schools Nashville says change is needed, and part of that change is getting rid of school resource officers in Metro Nashville Public Schools.

Kosar Kosar is an organizer with Safer Schools Nashville, a grassroots organization with an initiative to do away with the current methods to discipline students.

"For the past year and a half, we just been organizing around this issue of school policing and really re-imagining what you know what safety looks like within our schools," Kosar says.

Advocates like Kosar feel school resource officers target and arrest more minority students.

According to data compiled by the Safer Schools Nashville, 40% of the student population is Black at Metro Schools, yet make up 77% of referrals to law enforcement and 66% of student arrests.

Kosar also says their data shows students with disabilities in 2017-2018, made up 100% of student arrests. Part of the solution could be getting rid of school resource officers and implementing a method known as community policing.

"We believe in this mission of finding safer alternatives to school policing, and punitive discipline and ultimately working towards advancing the social, emotional and intellectual development of MNPS students," Kosar said. "The removal of school resource officers and then reinvestment in non-punitive interventions like social emotional learning, restorative justice, and in our mental health staff."

Last year the organization helped create legislation to do just that, but the bill failed in Metro Council.

This week, the group was invited along with other community organizations to speak in front of the Metro Human Relations Commission to discuss what they believe needs to change.

If commissioners believe there needs to be a new approach, they will create a proposal based on the information received from organizations like Safer Schools Nashville.

Until then, Kosar says more works needs to be done.

Safer Schools Nashville also plans on presenting their findings to the Metro Council, and Metro Nashville Public School Board.

NewsChannel 5 has reached out to MNPS for comment.