The Pajaro Valley Unified School District (PVUSD) School Board approved a resolution adding school resource officers (SROs) in tandem with mental health clinicians after an increase in violence since the school year began. The board, which voted to remove SROs from the Watsonville, California district in July 2020, reinstated them in a pilot program pairing SROs and mental health clinicians. The district intends to place new SROs and mental health clinicians at two of its eight middle and high schools.
In August 2021, a student was fatally stabbed at Aptos High, a PVUSD school. The district saw an uptick in violence this fall, prompting the re-evaluation of their July 2020 decision to remove SROs from PVUSD.
In a September meeting, the board cited a Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights report stating that SROs are ineffective at reducing school violence. It also presented surveys of PVUSD students, staff, and community members showing varying levels of support for SROs in the district.
The board's resolution aims to reintroduce SROs with a new role, working in tandem with mental health clinicians to better support students. The updated safety plan also includes improving cell service at PVUSD schools, updating their security camera system, and an independent review of the August stabbing at Aptos High.