Interaction at Coquillard raises questions about role of police in schools
SOUTH BEND, Ind.--- An interaction at Coquillard Elementary School is raising questions about the role of police in schools. ABC57 obtained body camera video of South Bend Empowerment Zone Chief Dr. Cheryl Camacho asking a South Bend Police officer to leave the school after showing up without being escorted in.
Dr. Camacho says she wants to make sure all students feel safe at school, but some students don't feel comfortable with police presence at school, especially given the climate around policing. She released a statement Friday saying in part
"When there is an emergency, we absolutely want, welcome, and expect the police to help us. However, given the political context in South Bend and in the nation, it is critical that schools and police align on the front end on the policy, processes, and protocols that need to be in place to ensure that all of our students, families, and staff are clear on the purpose and intent of their non-emergency presence,".
South Bend Police also released a statement saying "Schools are part of our community and we will continue to do what we can to help them. We feel this is the proper thing as we are receiving an overwhelming amount of feedback and support from our students, parents, and South Bend families,".
Dr. Camacho says she did meet with South Bend Police administration after the interaction and they have come to an understanding that officers must alert principals and be escorted in the schools during nonemergency visits instead of just walking in.
UPDATE: To clarify a point in the story, the officer did tell the CEO what he was doing there. He was doing a walkthrough that is normal for officers to do.