PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland Public Schools, Oregon's largest school district, will discontinue its use of Portland Police Bureau school resource officers.
Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero said Thursday that the district needed to “re-examine our relationship” with the police in light of the nationwide upheaval over the death of George Floyd.
The news came after thousands of protesters gathered on Wednesday for the sixth consecutive night in Portland and remained generally peaceful.
The district of more than 49,000 students joins Minneapolis, which severed ties with its school resource officers on Tuesday. St. Paul, Minnesota, schools and schools in Denver are considering doing the same as protests continue nationwide over Floyd’s death.
“The time is now. With new proposed investments in direct student supports (social workers, counselors, culturally-specific partnerships & more), I am discontinuing the regular presence of School Resource Officers,” Guerrero said in his tweet. “We need to re-examine our relationship with the PPB.”
The Portland Police Bureau said its Youth Services Division has provided service to the Portland Public School system since 1999. Effective immediately, it said, members assigned to the Youth Services Division will be reassigned to the Operations Branch.
"Over the last several years, there have been ongoing conversations about the police and their role in public schools," said Police Chief Jami Resch. "Some members of the community have expressed their concerns and desires for an alternative option to having police assigned to the schools.
"PPB is committed to listening to the community and adapting as needed to best meet their expectations. Today, the decision was made to reassign all Youth Services Division personnel back to the Operations Branch.
"I have met with the members who are impacted to express my gratitude for their service. This decision is in no way a reflection of the amazing work and dedication School Resource Officers have provided for countless years. Their compassion, professionalism and desire for increased training have positively impacted many of our youth and school administration staff.
"I want to reassure the public that if there is a public safety emergency at a school, PPB will respond--we just will not have dedicated resources specifically assigned to the schools," Resch added.