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Portland School Board discusses proposal to discontinue school resource officers

More than $150,000 is currently built into the district's budget for school resource officers.

PORTLAND, Maine — The Portland School Board held a public hearing and workshop Tuesday night to discuss a proposed resolution to discontinue school resource officers.

The district currently has two school resource officers placed at Portland High School and Deering High School. More than $150,000 is built into the district's budget for these officers.

Part of the discussion included surveys taken from students. More than 90 percent of those surveyed said they feel safer at school knowing there is a school resource officer in the building.

Members of the school board have conflicting opinions about whether or not to get rid of them.

“It’s the littlest thing that we figured out as adults to try to do to protect our kids. I’m not comfortable with that band aid. I never have been, and it’s hurting black and brown kids everyday," Board Member Adam Burke said.

“Are we potentially throwing away a long relationship with our school resource officers that have - by all that I know of our SRO’s is that they are caring individuals, they are supportive adults for our students," Board Member Marnie Marrione said.

Some board members asked the superintendent what would be put in the school resource officers' place if the district were to get rid of them. He said he didn't have an answer.

A vote on the resolution is expected to occur June 30.

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