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Lincoln Board of Education meet to discuss School Resource Officer and Student Discipline Report

The report includes data from the 2019-20 school year, cut short by COVID-19, and compares that data to the previous four school years when possible.
(MGN)
Published: Aug. 11, 2020 at 6:24 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The Lincoln Board of Education met prior to its regular meeting on Aug. 11 for a work session about the annual School Resource Officer and Student Discipline Report, produced jointly by Lincoln Public Schools and the Lincoln Police Department. The report includes data from the 2019-20 school year, cut short by COVID-19, and compares that data to the previous four school years when possible.

The report is produced as part of the Safe and Successful Kids interlocal agreement with the City of Lincoln. The agreement, approved in 2018, funds six middle school resource officers, an additional threat-assessment officer, mental health support through an additional school social worker and additional therapist services, and sustained funding for Lincoln’s 31 Community Learning Centers.

LPS Director of Student Services Russ Uhing began the work session by outlining the multiple mental health supports the school district offers students. . Uhing also presented on the school district’s threat assessment efforts.

Lincoln Police Officer Luke Bonkiewicz and LPS Director of Assessment and Evaluation Leslie Eastman presented the SRO data to the board.

Bonkiewicz offered multiple key takeaways from the 2019-20 data. Calls for Service slightly increased at middle schools and decreased in high schools. SROs issued fewer citations/referrals, and at a lower rate per Call for Service.

Administrators and students initiated the vast majority of Calls for Service that resulted in a citation; SROs initiated roughly 1 percent. Five serious types of incidents make up the majority of Calls for Service, including those resulting in a citation.

SROs received 19 commendations and four complaints. SROs conducted 128 educational presentations for roughly 3,600 students. SROs received nearly 40 hours of training on a variety of SRO-related topics.

Eastman offered multiple key takeaways from the data collected by LPS.

There was evidence that students found classroom presentations by SROs to be useful. Also, while all ethnic/racial groups perceived interactions with SROs as generally positive, American Indian/Alaskan Native, Black/African American, and Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander students perceived their interactions with SROs less positively than white students.

Data found student perception to be generally positive, with the primary issues being fairness of rules, consistency across teachers, and adult responses to bullying. White students tended to respond more positively than students of color.

Parent/guardian perception of SROs and certified staff perception of SROs were found to be generally positive. However, given the small number of respondents of color, Eastman advised caution in terms of comparing groups. LPS Director of Security Joe Wright concluded the presentation describing how LPS and LPD will use the data to improve the SRO program in the future. Recommendations included continuation of collaborative training between LPS and LPD and to continue to look for alternatives to traditional referral and arrest outcomes for offenses that align with disproportionality data.

The full presentation can be found at LPS.org.

Copyright 2020 KOLN. All rights reserved.

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