Burlington School District (BSD) is inviting members of the community to participate in a School Safety Task Force as requested by the Board of School Commissioners in a resolution passed in June. The School Safety Task Force will review the role of School Resource Officers (SROs) and present recommendations to further the District’s policy goals of implementing all elements of restorative practices to ensure safe and equitable schools. Burlington School District (BSD) is a pre-k-12 public school system of about 4,000 students in Burlington, VT.
Officials said that the task force will allow the community to engage in a conversation about the school district, the community, and what's going on across the country with law enforcement and social unrest.
The School Safety Task Force will present a plan that accomplishes the following objectives:
- Identify and document the original intention of the SRO presence in the schools and the functions SROs perform in the school.
- Determine which of these functions must be performed by uniformed law enforcement officials and which functions are to be done jointly with BSD staff.
- Develop options for alternative approaches that reinforce a restorative model for all of Burlington’s students/youth during and outside school hours.
- Ensure the safety of all of Burlington’s students/youth during and outside of school hours using a Restorative Practices model that eliminates the traumatizing effects associated with weapons, uniforms, and a police presence communicated by some of the District’s students and community members.
The Task Force will be made up of BSD leaders, school commissioners or a commissioner designee, a city councilor or councilor designee, a student, a parent, and a community member with lived experience with SRO’s, restorative practices, law enforcement, criminal justice reform, and youth development.
The School Safety Task Force will meet for at least two hours a week for two months and produce a report of recommendations by December 2020.