Fairfax County School Board Approves School Resource Officer MOU
The Fairfax County School Board has approved a revised Memorandum of Understanding between Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) and the Fairfax County Police Department (FCPD) for the School Resource Officer (SRO) program.
Superintendent Scott Brabrand and FCPD Police Chief Edwin Roessler produced a revised draft agreement that was reviewed during three community meetings in July by the SRO Community Review Committee, which included individuals representing FCPS and community-based organizations.
“SROs provide a critical service to our schools and are partners with FCPS in ensuring the overall safety and security of our schools,” said School Board Chair Karen Corbett Sanders. “We believe the revised MOU will further strengthen the trust and relationship between our school administrators, SROs and our community. The MOU process has been a collaborative effort between FCPS, county leaders and key stakeholder groups in our community. The MOU emphasizes restorative justice, alternative accountability programs, and increased transparency. I am especially pleased that FAQs and informational videos will be developed to inform the community about the role of SROs in our schools. In addition, the MOU provides that the agreement will be jointly assessed annually by FCPS and FCPD.”
A total of 51 FCPD officers serve as SROs in FCPS middle schools, high schools, and secondary schools.
The revised MOU includes the following changes to the previous agreement:
- Establishes a clear division between the role of the SRO in criminal matters and FCPS administrative staff on student discipline matters.
- Clarifies that SROs are not involved in determining student discipline under the FCPS Student Rights and Responsibilities regulation.
- Establishes that SROs shall not be involved with the enforcement of school rules or disciplinary infractions that are not violations of law.
- Removes “stop and frisk” from the MOU.
- Adds SRO training focused on implicit bias, disability awareness, crisis intervention training, restorative justice techniques, and cultural competency.
The Board also approved these follow on motions:
- Direct the superintendent to report to the board the details of required SRO training, including the required topics and frequency of training. Due date: March 31, 2019.
- Direct the superintendent to report to the board on how the MOU could be clarified to ensure that: a.) administrative discipline-related conversations with students are conducted by FCPS staff only, with no SRO presence; and b.) law-enforcement-related conversations are conducted separately, by SROs only, unless parents or school staff feel a student would benefit from the presence of another trusted adult. Due date: March 31, 2019.
- Direct the superintendent to report to the board on current practices regarding SRO participation in hearings office hearings and the feasibility of excluding SROs from physically participating in discipline hearings conducted by the hearings office. Due date: March 31, 2019.
- Direct the superintendent to include the “Program Assessment” reported date (MOU page 20) on the FCPS equity scorecard, in an easily accessible format for community members. Due date: when the data is available from FCPD.
- Direct the superintendent to report to the board a description of the current FCPD practices of sharing any information about FCPS students or family members with other law enforcement agencies, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Due date: October 31, 2018.
- Direct the superintendent to conduct a crosswalk of the parent notification requirements for SROs and school staff, as outlined in the MOU with the current SR&R, and to provide potential recommended changes to the 2019-2020 SR&R that will achieve better alignment. (This crosswalk should include but not be limited to parent notification practices used in questioning, obtaining written statements, and accessing the information of personal cell phones of minor students). The superintendent will bring recommendations for improved parent notification when he reports to the board on discipline issues in fall 2018.
- The Board (will) advocate for a seat on the Fairfax County Police Department Citizen Review Panel to be appointed by the School Board.
- Direct the superintendent to review the “Directory Information” process as referenced in the SRO MOU and provide recommendations that will improve the protection of sensitive student information. These recommendations should include: potential improvements to FCPS’ Opt-Out practices, potential revisions to the list of “student information items” being included in the Directory Information, as well as enhancement of parental/guardian understanding of the terminology “Directory Information.” The superintendent will report back to the Board no later than April 2019.
The MOU states that “(T)he parties agree the vast majority of student misconduct can be best addressed through classroom and in-school strategies”
In addition, language added to the MOU states: “FCPD officers are not agents of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency and as such they shall not participate in any requests for assistance that is not of a criminal nature within the FCPS.”
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote on the SRO MOU at their next regularly scheduled meeting on July 31 and will be reviewed annually.
For more information, contact the FCPS Office of Communication and Community Relations at 571-423-1200.