What the heck is restorative justice?
It has been defined as “having more counseling, conflict mediation and addressing the holistic needs of the student as opposed to relying on punitive approaches like suspensions and expulsions”. Ok, there’s nothing wrong with taking those steps however, CVUSD board member Neftali Galarza stated “I can’t think of a better image of the school-to-prison pipeline than having a sheriff in our schools," said Galarza. "A revolution is not moved through fear, the revolution is won through love."
What is the revolution that Galarza is talking about? How is having a sheriff’s deputy in the school considered a school-to-prison pipeline? Because they respond to calls of criminal activity?
Board members Silvia Paz, Jesus Gonzalez, Neftali Galarza and Joey Acuña all voted to have deputies removed from the schools. Maybe they should be voted out. Board president Blanca and board member Machuca were the only two who voted against cutting School Resource Officers.
The $300,000 contract with the sheriff's department would have secured two officers for Coachella Valley High School and Desert Mirage High School, the two locations where the police receive the most "call-ins," however; board member Galarza states that “For me to hear that we’ll have better response time if we pay $300,000, that doesn't cut it to me”. Board member Maria Muchaca responded, “Although I appreciate what you’re saying Mr. Galarza, at the same time, I’m thinking of liability, I'm thinking of ensuring the safety of our students and there's been so much that has happened all over that I know some parents will tell you they feel safe knowing there’s someone there.”
For Galarza, it’s the responsibility of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department to make sure that there are enough patrol officers on duty to ensure a speedy response time in the event of an incident on campus.
Well Mr. Galarza, in reality, no matter what you do, anything can happen at any time for any reason and you always need to plan for the “what if” factor.
Captain Misty Reynolds of the Riverside Sheriff’s Department stated that “over the course of the last two years, we’ve responded to over 1,200 calls for service at the schools, the three school officers that were at the schools. That's 600 per year, so it is a decent amount of calls for service. Those are calls that are generated by the school to the school resource officer currently, now that will fall on the shoulders of officers out on the street”.
Back to the “what if” factor. What if there is an active shooter or other type of violent incident on school grounds? Do you want to wait for police response, or would you rather have an armed and trained officer there to engage the individual almost immediately?
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