/Tempe Union High School District Voted 3-2 to Remove Cops (School Resource Officers) From Schools

Tempe Union High School District Voted 3-2 to Remove Cops (School Resource Officers) From Schools

Board members of the Tempe Union High School District voted to phase out school resource officers (SROs) on Wednesday. After hearing from agents of the state (police), students, and parents, the board made the 3-2 decision to get rid of SROs in schools.

Retired Tempe Police Chief Tom Ryff was there to provide remarks on the resolution. “I can tell you from having read that document from school administrators and board members, I’d give them an F. It’s a failing document, it makes no sense,” Ruff says. Ryff, was a police chief for one of the most dangerous and oppressive police departments in the nation. It is him, who deserves “an F,” after leading an institution that commits human and civil rights violations and reinforces white supremacy. Don’t believe it, let’s take a look at the data.

Mapping police violence complies data and provides a nation-wide evaluation of policing in the United States. The data is from state and federal databases, public record requests to police departments, and media reports. If you are interested in taking a look at the data: Click here.

Based on the data departments across the nation are ranked on a 0 to 100 percentage scale. Departments with higher scores use less force, make fewer arrests for low level offenses, hold officers more accountable and spend less on policing overall. On their list of 500 departments, Tempe police department ranks 9th overall most violence department in the nation, only behind Robbinsdale, Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Long Beach, St. Louis, Kansas City, Manhattan Beach, and Atlanta.

The resolution based by Tempe Union High School District to get rid of SROs is the best thing for the community. We do not need the 9th most violent department in the nation’s officers in a learning environment intimidating and attacking students. Research from the U.S. Department of Education finds that Black students in the Tempe Union High School District are three times more likely to be referred to law enforcement than white students. Instead of funding the police, who are confirmed agents of white supremacy, that money can go to resources for our neglected and underfunded schools.

Removing cops is the bare minimum. As a community we must work together to ensure that our schools reject the carceral logic of the state. A senior from Desert Vista High School stated funds should be allocated to mental health resources like counselors and psychologists, not police. “We believe that having those people there instead of an SRO will be greatly beneficial to our students because that support for mental health will be there and our safety is still secured with our security officers,” this student explained.