Today, the Black Parents of Arlington (BPA), an advocacy group dedicated to improving the lives of Black children in Arlington by securing equitable treatment in the realms of education, criminal justice, and access to opportunities and resources, formally called for the removal of School Resource Officers (SROs) from all APS schools and facilities.
“The time is now, said BPA President Whytni H. Kernodle, Esq. Data-driven research has repeatedly shown stark disparities in the percentage of Black and Latino juveniles arrested and sentenced to detention relative to their population in the county. Interactions between SROs and Black and Brown students result in disproportionately higher suspension rates and other disciplinary actions than those interactions with white students. The data shows Black and Brown children have increasingly reported threatening and uncomfortable encounters with SROs, which impacts their learning and their academic future. It’s time for APS to create an environment where all students can learn without fear and intimidation.”
BPA Vice President Adora Williams also advocated for reallocation of resources from SROs to personnel dedicated to student wellness, such as guidance counselors, therapists, and support specialists. “APS needs to focus on fully funding these crucial positions, especially now, as we find our new normal in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Students will need wraparound support once they return to the classroom and they are better served by mental health professionals rather than law enforcement in that capacity.”
Black Parents of Arlington has joined with the NAACP, Arlington for Justice, and other advocacy groups to petition the Arlington County School Board and APS Superintendent Dr. Francisco Durán to reevaluate the purpose and necessity of SROs in our schools. Over the next few weeks, BPA will continue to collaborate with our partners to ensure that Arlington Public Schools will move forward expeditiously to create a police-free school environment that is welcoming and safe for our Black children.
The Black Parents of Arlington (BPA) seeks to improve the lives of black children in Arlington by securing equitable treatment in the realms of education, criminal justice, and access to opportunities and resources. BPA equips and emboldens black parents and other parents of black children to work with the school system, the county and other interested community stakeholders to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all children in our community, regardless of color. Read more about BPA here and here. Follow BPA on Facebook and Twitter .