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October 25, 2010

SROs prevent bullying, but cut in Lincoln

by Deena Winter

TIME magazine reports that “one proven strategy” for school districts to prevent bullying is having school resource officers around.
However, such SROs were cut from the city of Lincoln budget this year. Not from high schools, but the four SROs who cover 10 middle schools were cut from the city budget this summer.
With all the attention on bullying right now — in the wake of four teen suicides in 19 days — I found it interesting that TIME says studies of schools with SROs have lower violence rates than schools that don’t have them.
However, the SROs in Lincoln’s middle schools — which seem to be a breeding ground for bullies — were lopped out of the city budget this summer.
Police Chief Tom Casady has said it’s not that middle school SROs aren’t valuable, it’s just that he needs police officers elsewhere in Lincoln, too, and when you have to cut your budget… . I thought maybe the school district would pick up the cost and keep the officers, but they didn’t, and the SROs will be gone from middle schools at the end of this semester. The school boad may want to rethink this decision, given the bullying epidemic.
The city has been talking about making this cut for years. Back in 2007, during the debate, Casady posted a chart to show people how often police are called to the city’s middle schools:

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