School districts in Vermont would be prohibited from hiring police officers as in-school security guards, according to a recent bill introduced by Sen. Ruth Hardy. The bill, S.63, would ban the use of school resource officers who are currently posted in about half of all Vermont public school districts. Schools could call police to deal with security concerns on a case-by-case basis, but would not be allowed to contract with law enforcement agencies to station one in a school.
Vermont schools collectively spent more than $2 million last year on policing services, according to a VTDigger analysis. Advocates say that money could better be spent on mental health support, restorative justice training, and other alternatives that address misbehavior in developmentally appropriate ways.
The bill has just been introduced to the State Legislature and will most likely not remain in its current form, if it makes it through. Senator Hardy told VTDigger that she felt it was "important to start the conversation from the point of view that stationing police in schools had been a failed policy."