Activists continue to push to get police officers out of South Bend schools

NOW: Activists continue to push to get police officers out of South Bend schools

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Local activists are still working to get the South Bend Community School Corporation to replace or remove armed police officers from working inside of the district’s schools.

A handful of activists gathered at Washington High School on Monday to discuss alternative safety measures that could be taken rather than having police in South Bend schools.

School officials repeated that the district has no plans to remove police officers from the schools.

However, with the South Bend Police Department facing staffing shortages, some officers may be forced to stay out of South Bend schools to take care of other police responsibilities.

The South Bend Police Department says they are short nearly 20 officers and expect to lose about a dozen more.

This shortage of officers also led South Bend Mayor James Mueller to pull city police out of the St. Joseph County Metro Homicide and Special Victims Units.

“As we continue to face staffing challenges in SBPD, all options are on the table to maintain our critical public safety services," said Mayor James Mueller.

Some officials of the South Bend school district have begun planning for alternative forms of safety and protection for students if officers are unable to remain in schools.

“We’ve already started to expand restorative justice facilitators in our buildings. We’re looking at retraining and retooling all of our security staff and de-escalation strategies and more proactive measures so all of those proactive approaches are in regardless to the decisions that will be made in the future regarding the SRO program,” said Brandon White, Assistant Superintendent of Academics at South Bend Community School Corporation.

Along with the Fraternal Order of Police saying that pulling officers out of South Bend schools could have disastrous repercussions, school officials are still consistent in their message that they plan to keep the SRO program running the way it is currently.

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