To the editor:
I am writing about the article, “School board considers removing APD from schools,” in the Oct. 22 Alexandria Times. This article was misleading. In fact, support for ending the school resource officer program was much broader and more racially diverse than Alexandria Times’ readers were led to believe.
As mentioned in the article, community leaders from Tenants and Workers United spoke in favor of removing SROs from schools. Not mentioned in the article, community leaders representing Grassroots Alexandria and NAACP Alexandria also spoke in favor of removal. Further, the Alexandria Times did not disclose that more than 20 Alexandria residents spoke at the hearing and that every single one spoke in favor of removal.
The SRO program, which is supposedly “providing students the opportunity to have positive interactions with officers on a daily basis,” is based on failed “community policing.” My friends of color tell me that they do not “have positive interactions” with police. What they describe is subtle verbal abuse that has a traumatic cumulative effect. Just as we learned to listen to women during the #MeToo movement, we should now listen to our neighbors of color when they tell us that police in schools cause more harm than good.
-Jonathan Krall, Grassroots Alexandria