ETHS SRO Program: Frequently Asked Questions
What is a School Resource Officer (SRO) and how many SROs are at ETHS?
A school resource officer, by federal definition, is a career law enforcement officer with sworn authority who is deployed by an employing police department or agency in a community-oriented policing assignment to work in collaboration with one or more schools.
ETHS has two School Resource Officers assigned to the building during each school day. The SROs are Evanston Police Department employees.
Does ETHS use SROs for student behavior issues?
- ETHS SROs do not engage in behavior matters with students. The ETHS Deans manage and are responsible for student discipline issues. See the ETHS D202 Board Policy Manual (Student Behavior 7:190) for more information.
Do SROs supervise cafeterias or hallways?
- ETHS SROs do not supervise students in cafeterias or hallways.
Why do SROs at ETHS wear body cameras?
- Each SRO is equipped with a body-worn camera as provided by law in accordance with Evanston Police Department policies.
- The SRO’s body-worn camera will not record during the school day unless and until the SRO has reason to believe that a crime has been, or is in the process of being committed.
- The body-worn cameras can increase transparency and encourage accountability.
Are SROs at ETHS trained in restorative practices?
- Yes. ETHS works closely with EPD on restorative practices.
Does a parent/guardian get notified if a student is suspected of criminal activity and is questioned by an SRO?
- Yes, Illinois School Code requires law enforcement officers, school resource officers or other school security personnel to notify parents and take reasonable steps to include parents or school mental health professionals when detaining and questioning students on school grounds. (See House Bill 2627 for details.)
Why doesn’t ETHS use the money it spends on SROs to fund more social workers?
- ETHS spends no money on SROs.
- Positions such as social workers, psychologists, etc. are covered through the ETHS budget. For example, ETHS hired two additional mental health workers for the 2020-21 school year.
How often do ETHS administrators meet with SROs?
- ETHS administrators meet with SROs on a weekly basis.
- ETHS administrators may also meet with SROs as needed.
How do SROs protect students from potential school shooters?
- SROs are the only armed and trained professionals in the district.
- SROs are considered first responders and work closely with the Evanston Fire Department and paramedics.
- SROs are specifically trained to neutralize threats on campus and minimize injury or loss of life.
I read that SROs contribute to the school-to-prison pipeline. Why would ETHS want to contribute to the school-to-prison pipeline?
- ETHS SROs do not police students and therefore do not contribute to the school-to-prison pipeline.
- ETHS SROs work to facilitate restorative acts with students.
- ETHS SROs work with the community to avoid arrest and involvement with the juvenile justice system whenever possible.
I read that nationally, students at policed schools, are five times more likely to be arrested for “disorderly conduct” than students at non-policed schools. Is that true at ETHS?
- This statistic is not true at ETHS.
What evidence exists that SROs are valuable?
Researchers at Canada’s Carleton University conducted a two-year study of an SRO program in the Regional Municipality of Peel. In their 2018 report, they concluded that for every dollar invested in the program, a minimum of $11.13 of social and economic value was created. The report lists numerous benefits of the program, including:
- Prevention or minimization of property damage in the school and surrounding areas.
- Prevention of student injuries and even death due to violence, drug overdoses, etc.
- Reduction of the need for schools to call 911.
- Reduction of the likelihood that a student will get a criminal record.
- Increase of the likelihood that students (particularly those with mental health issues) will get the help they need from the social service and health care systems.
- Increase in feelings of safety among students and staff.