PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland school board on Tuesday night approved an agreement to pay police officers for an increased presence in schools.
The agreement will increase the presence of the district's nine school resource officers from three days a week to five days a week in the schools. It's projected to cost the district $364,000 this year and about $1.2 million each of the next two years.
The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that after the controversial agreement was met with some blowback, Portland Public Schools held listening sessions to get feedback from students, but turnout was low except for the session at Jefferson High School, where 45 students showed up to give their opinions.
Students and parents were concerned that officers in schools may make some students feel unsafe or criminalized, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.
The agreement prompted one concerned parent to start a petition asking the school board to postpone its vote.
“There have not been adequate opportunities for people to discuss what safety concerns they have nor potential solutions which may not involve police,” the petition said.
Portland police argued those concerns are based on misperceptions, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported. They said the officers chosen to work in schools show a propensity for working with children and noted that police made 13 total arrests in schools during the last school year.