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CPS Students For Change group wants more safety precautions in schools

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

Columbia City Council plans to discuss and vote on a new contract with Columbia Public Schools on Monday to bring back police officers in some school buildings, but a group of CPS students called "Students For Change" want to see more safety precautions in place.

The contract with CPS and the city says the school resource officers would work to provide support for students and deter crime on campus.

After the shooting on Friday on a Kansas School Campus that directly involved an SRO, students and teachers are asking CPS to add more precautions to keep people safe.

While some are all for officers in schools, others believe it could cause more issues.

One student Karli Jones, a member of "Students for Change", said students are hoping for more safety measures than just more officers. 

"Right now we don't feel like enough is being done to keep us safe, and thats a really scary feeling as a student. We're wanting CPS to implement metal detectors and trauma kits into schools," Jones said. 

According to CNN, Friday's shooting in Olathe Kansas, was the 12th shooting on a K-12 campus in 2022.

With school shootings being a common concern across the US, one CPS teacher, Noelle Gilzow, said adding SRO's to campus is justified.

"That position is one thats warranted given some of the things that have been going on in our country and in our community even, and security is of the utmost importance," Gilzow said.

Gilzow also said she sees how it could be cause for concern.

"What we have to be concerned about is the perceived presence of the SRO's as a policing force rather than a partner in the students education. Theres talk about the school to prison pipeline and some of the problems communities have had with policing," Gilzow said.

Gilzow said she is confident in the new CPS SRO agreement plan.

"With the plan for Columbia Public Schools to reintroduce SRO's back into school buildings comes with a high training component where the police will be trained really highly in restorative practices and relationship building with the students so that its not an us versus them feeling when their in the building, but they are a partner in the building with us to make it as safe as possible," Gilzow said.

Gilzow said she isn't a fan of adding metal detectors to classrooms, but Jones said these safety measures could prevent a tragedy from happening.

"I don't want it to get to that point, and I think that there is a chance at that point so what we're doing as a group is to eliminate that chance," Jones said.

Gilzow also said the school has already done some security updates on the schools.

"By adding secure vestibules, and by adding the buzz in system, and by making a lot of the windows, particularly the ones of the first floor and the doors that one way reflective and hard to penetrate sheeting has been added," Gilzow said.

Jones said she's asking the school to send information on mental health home to parents and information on gun safety.

"We've talked about sending emails home to parents, on what signs to look for that your child may have serious mental health issues, and how to properly secure fire arms," Jones said.

If the ordinance is approved Monday night, there will be four resource officers split among Hickman, Battle and Rock Bridge High Schools.

The last time the district had a SRO was in 2020.

Watch ABC 17 News at 10 p.m.

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Leila Mitchell

Leila is a Penn State graduate who started with KMIZ in March 2021. She studied journalism and criminal justice in college.

Comments

1 Comment

  1. Perhaps one may look into why children are shooting children. What has changed in schooling that influenced the increase? How are we treating children differently than in the past? Could the fact that schools now more closely resemble prisons be a factor?

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