Prince George’s County Board of Education to consider ending school resource officer agreement

The Prince George’s County Board of Education will consider a resolution Thursday to end its agreement with law enforcement to place armed school resource officers in buildings, saying the presence of officers in school is counterproductive to the board’s goal of keeping students out of prison.

“Officers don’t need to be in that building. Our schools are meant to be spaces for growth and learning and advancement,” District 5 Board Member Raaheela Ahmed said. “It is the antithesis of what we are trying to do to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline.”


Both Ahmed and District 1 Board Member David Murray have submitted proposals to end the school system’s contracts with local law enforcement. Ahmed’s resolution is on the agenda for the board meeting Thursday, and Murray’s proposal was discussed Monday in the Operations, Budget and Fiscal Affairs Committee, where three out of five members voted in favor of recommending the Board of Education end the contract.

The budget committee’s chair, K. Alexander Wallace of District 7, said the full board would discuss the issue Thursday at 7 p.m. during a virtual meeting; the public can submit comments remotely online.


Ahmed’s resolution would ask schools CEO Monica Goldson to not renew memoranda of agreement with the county and local agencies. Ahmed said the agreement with the county has already lapsed, and that other agreements would end in July.

In addition to the presence school resource officers, Prince George’s County Public Schools have security officers who are not armed and do not have arresting power. Chief Financial Officer Michael Hebrstman said most of the cost related to school resource officers falls on the county police department, not the school system.

The Board of Education’s Vice Chair Edward Burroughs III, District 8, said in supporting the measure he was thinking about how he could best make an impact as a public official.

“As a young black male in America it is traumatizing to watch the non-stop images I have seen on my screen play, of police and other individuals brutalize and traumatize other individuals who look like me,” he said.

Appointed Board Member Curtis Valentine supported providing more mental health resources for students and creating an action plan, but said he thinks that the presence of police in schools can actually build relationships that serve the community and students well.

“I have seen first-hand the relationships SROs have built with students,” he said. “Some officers have partnered with churches. They attend HOA meetings.”

Valentine said his wife has been assaulted by a student, which required a quick police response.

Wallace abstained from voting on the issue in-committee because it was added to the agenda less than an hour before the meeting started. He said he would like more public discussion of the proposal to remove school resource officers.


Black lives matter in Prince George’s schools, he said. Schools are soft targets and sometimes more is needed to secure buildings from threats of mass proportion, such as school shootings, he said.

“I also recognize that the black lives of the students those school resource officers are protecting matter,” he said.