RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif. (KTXL) – Some families in the Folsom Cordova Unified School District said Monday they were concerned about an upcoming vote to eliminate school resource officers from campus.
“SROs need to be at the schools,” Sunn Carson, a junior at Cordova High School, told FOX40.
Sixteen-year-old Carson went into cardiac arrest in 2019. His heart stopped beating and he stopped breathing right in the middle of class.
“Saved my son’s life,” said Carson’s mother, Winter Jenkins.
With help from staff, including school resource officer Tracey Jacobs, who performed CPR, Sunn’s heart began beating again after eight minutes of chest compressions.
“I’m very grateful for Miss Tracey because if it wasn’t for her and the rest of the staff, but if it wasn’t for her in particular, my son wouldn’t be here,” Jenkins said.
“She does a lot for me,” Carson said.
But Cordova High School could lose its three school resource officers.
Later in September, the district will decide whether to continue funding to have the officers on campus or put the money toward other programs.
Conrade Mayer heads a mentoring program at Cordova High School and said the resource officers are essential.
“It’s about mentoring and teaching right from wrong. And developing relationships,” Mayer explained.
Officer Jacobs told FOX40 that when she started at the campus three years ago, there were students who wouldn’t even acknowledge her being there.
Then one day, she said she did an elaborate kind of handshake with one of the kids. It got the attention of others and soon those students wanted to join in too.
“Current day, I have 101 different handshakes with 101 different kids,” Jacobs said.
“We hear about what’s going on in the world today with law enforcement. But having the relationship and interacting with our SRO officers on a daily basis gets us to know who’s right and who’s wrong, who’s good and who’s bad,” Mayer said.
Still, some disagree.
“Defund the police. I know a lot of folks want to look at it as a negative thing but it’s really not a negative,” said community activist and founder of Voice of the Youth Berry Accius. “It’s really, if you look at it, it’s to shape it into a positive.”
Accius said police already wear many hats, dealing with multiple types of calls for service each day.
“It’s unnecessary to have police in places where I don’t really believe they serve a purpose,” Accius said.
According to a 2019 report from the American Civil Liberties Union, Black students are three times as likely to be arrested compared to white students nationally. Schools with officers on campus reported more than three times the arrests of schools without.
“The money could be spread into organizations that can really do some groundbreaking work that I’ve seen happen,” Accius explained.
Jacobs said that’s something they already do at her school where students have learned to trust and confide in her.
“The best thing about being a school resource officer is by far, definitely, the relationships that I have and that I’ve built with the students,” Jacobs said.