Tenn. police to remove SROs from troubled schools

The SROs have reported a “toxic” school environment where they’ve been verbally harassed on a daily basis

By PoliceOne Staff

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Two troubled schools in a Tennessee school district will be without SROs starting March 1.

According to News Channel 5, the decision to pull three Metro Nashville Police officers was in the works for a month. SROs have reported “toxic” school environments where they’ve been verbally harassed on a daily basis. 

“The officers don’t need to be subjected to that kind of abuse, they don’t need to be subjected to an environment where the students aren’t welcoming,” Metro Police spokesperson Don Aaron told News Channel 5.

Metro Nashville Public Schools has approximately 70 SROs across their district. Every high school has at least one officer along with most middle schools. SROs at Bass W. A. Alternative School and Johnson Alternative Learning Center have had to focus their time on security issues rather than building relationships with students, according to the report.

“Frankly in the alternative schools the mission has not been mentoring students but rather de facto security guards and that’s not the intended purpose of these SROs,” Aaron said.

The district now has the option to station security guards at the schools if they choose, but it’s unclear if they would be armed.

The population of both schools is made up of students with lengthy criminal records and most have been removed from conventional high schools because of behavioral problems. 

Aaron said the police are not abandoning the school entirely.

“The Police Department will periodically be a presence at each school throughout the remainder of the year,” he said.

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