Iowa school district boots School Resource Officers in favor of Restorative Practices

We love punishment in this country. If there’s a problem, we will meet it with force – it’s the American Way. And that’s the philosophy behind SROs, or School Resource Officers, which weren’t a thing when those of us above a certain age were kids.

Students meet with Restorative Practices trainer in hallway following an incident
On March 2, Ahmed Musa conducts a “pre-restorative conference” with two members of the K-Club, a group centered around Korean pop music, in preparation for a formal “restorative circle.”

In These Times: The City That Kicked Cops Out of Schools and Tried Restorative Practices Instead; Here’s what happens when a school rethinks punishment

But in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, a school district in Iowa held town hall meetings where one thing was made clear: get rid of SROs. The district asked the PD if they’d consider officers not in uniform, or unarmed officers, and the department abruptly canceled their contract. Oh, my, what to do with $775 thousand dollars? In the click-bait language of modern social media, “You won’t believe what happened next”

Restorative Practices and the foundational concepts of Restorative Justice – perhaps inspired by something like the Mennonite Victim-Offender Reconciliation Program – can change how the schools deal with kids struggling in the halls. They’re still learning and fine-tuning, so it isn’t working perfectly yet. Perhaps it never will.

Predictably, Right Wing media is furious about it. So the district is probably on the right track.

Get some coffee: the article is a long, enlightening read.

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Older technology guy with photography and history background