CPS Students For Change group wants more safety measures in schools


Columbia City Council plans to discuss and vote Monday on a new contract with Columbia Public Schools to bring police back into certain school buildings, but a group of CPS students called ‘Students For Change’ wants to see more action security in place.

The contract with the CPS and the city stipulates that school resource officers would work to provide support to students and deter crime on campus.

After Friday’s shooting at a Kansas school campus that directly involved an SRO, students and teachers are calling on the CPS to add more precautions to keep people safe.

While some are all for officers in schools, others think it might cause more problems.

One student, Karli Jones, a member of Students for Change, said students were hoping for more security measures than just more officers.

“Right now we don’t feel like enough is being done to keep us safe, and that’s a really scary feeling as a student. We want the CPS to put in security detectors. metals and trauma kits in schools,” Jones said.

According to CNN, Friday’s shooting in Olathe Kansas was the 12th shooting on a K-12 campus in 2022.

With school shootings being a common concern in the United States, a CPS teacher, Noelle Gilzow, said the addition of ORS on campus was warranted.

“This position is justified given some of the things that have happened in our country and even in our community, and safety is of the utmost importance,” Gilzow said.

Gilzow also said she saw where this could be concerning.

“What concerns us is the perceived presence of the SROs as a police force rather than a partner in the education of students. There are discussions about the school-to-prison pipeline and some of the problems communities have had with the police,” Gilzow said. .

Gilzow said she was confident in the new CPS SRO deal plan.

“With the plan for Columbia Public Schools to reintroduce ORS in school buildings, there is a high training component where police will be very well trained in restorative practices and building relationships with students so that this doesn’t have a feeling of us versus them when they’re in the building, but they’re a partner in the building with us to make it as safe as possible,” Gilzow said.

Gilzow said she was not a fan of adding metal detectors to classrooms, but Jones said such security measures could prevent a tragedy from occurring.

“I don’t want to come to that, and I think there’s a chance at that point, so what we’re doing as a group is eliminating that chance,” Jones said.

Gilzow also said the school has already done school safety updates.

“By adding secure vestibules, adding the buzz into the system, and making lots of windows, especially first-floor ones and doors, reflective and hard-to-penetrate tarps were added,” Gilzow said.

Jones said she is asking the school to send home mental health information to parents and information about gun safety.

“We talked about emailing parents home, what signs to look for that your child might have serious mental health issues, and how to properly secure guns,” he said. Jones.

If the ordinance is approved Monday night, there will be four resource officers split between Hickman, Battle and Rock Bridge high schools.

The last time the district had an ORS was in 2020.

Watch ABC 17 News at 10 p.m.

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Susan W. Lloyd