District says school police force won’t happen

Thursday, October 4, 2007 at 1:57am

Metro School officials say despite future legislation that may allow school districts to create private police forces, they have no plans to do so now.

One official said that while the district would look at any initiative from the state that would have an impact on the district, there is too little information about the process for police presence at this time.

“We just have no plans to do it,” said Ralph Thompson, assistant superintendent of Student Services for the district.

A spokesperson for the state Department of Education (DOE) said the department is looking into the option of allowing school districts to create police forces, but only for the purpose of presenting information to the General Assembly when it convenes in January.

“We’re to develop a report that [looks at districts] elsewhere in the nation [that] have developed their own police forces, how successful have they been and we’ll present that report to the General Assembly in January,” said Rachel Woods, DOE spokesperson.

There is no way to truly know the financial implication of creating a private police force within a school district, officials say.

Metro Schools has had a long-standing relationship with the Metro Police Department dating back nearly 12 years when the district began using School Resource Officers (SRO), or registered police officers who monitor students while in school.

There are two SROs in each high school with the exception of magnet schools Nashville School of the Arts, Hume-Fogg and Martin Luther King, and one SRO in each of the middle schools, according to the Metro Police.

There are a total 70 officers in the SRO program, including administration.

Thompson said the relationship with Metro police has been great and following a recent meeting with officers and administrators, he is confident the groups can “strengthen our unity and be united on one front.”

“They do an incredible job for us on a daily basis,” Thompson said. “We believe together that working together we’ll be able to make a significant impact on the safety of our schools,” he said.

Recent data released by the school district shows that the number of assaults on students reached its highest level this year with 5,274 total across the district. Over the past three years the district has seen a nearly 20 percent increase in total student assaults district-wide.

The school district made a clarification last week, stating that the number of assaults on students and teachers included such actions as brandishing a pencil or throwing a book — “the kind of impulsive and usually harmless behavior that has occurred in school rooms for generations,” according to the district ‘Children First!’ publication, a weekly news and information report.

“However, MNPS (Metro Nashville Public Schools) reports those numbers because we are very serious about making our schools secure because safety is our No. 1 concern,” according to the report.

Thompson said the school district and police are dedicated to improving safety in schools and are in the process of assembling a student assault task force that will allow students the opportunity to talk with school administrators and police representatives.

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By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Why would the legislators even be thinking about this? Nothing about it makes sense.

By: HokeyPokey on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I know, let's hire BlackwaterUSA to police the schools! THAT'S the ticket!

By: rrooney on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Another bad idea from those who have nothing else to do.

By: slo-ride on 12/31/69 at 6:00

H P, you have captured the essence of the problem here. The U S is run by a bunch of big-money boys whom can't take care of problems themselves (and won't let good men do it); people like Phil and Fred are a bunch of "girlie-men

By: AmericaWideOpen on 12/31/69 at 6:00

The public school system across America is becoming more militarized every year. These schools are conditioning children to act like prisoners in a jail.

By: gobucs on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Karl Dean is going to fix our schools so we won't need police in schools anyway. This is his campaign promise that we will be laughing at in 4 years. It will get worse in 4 years and all you people bought it hook, line ans sinker.

By: gobucs on 12/31/69 at 6:00

By the way, where would they get the money? Nashville is strapped so tight right now we can't afford a big mac. Thanks Purcell, you did this city good, moron.

By: 5263 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I totally agree with gobucs & the schools will never get better until discipline starts in the home!!! If the teachers were able to give a swift whack to some butts instead of having to give a pat on their heads & say "Johnny/Susie don't do that again" our schools will NEVER IMPROVE. Also, love the picture of the black kid having to hold up his bagging britches - DRESS CODE ENFORCEMENT??? Oh, I guess the green is the school color so saggy, baggy britches don't count!!

By: revo-lou on 12/31/69 at 6:00

The picture of the student walking thru the door way is shocking. One would hope that Garcia and/or the Hillsboro principal will see this picture and take the appropriate action of discipline. It is ridiculous that some kids are sent to ISS for the wrong shade of shirt color, while others walk around school like this, blatantly defying the SSA. I am all for the SSA but it ABSOLUTELY has to be enforced for all students. Those that implemented the SSA need to get control of how this is going to be enforced, or they might as well scrap it.