BSD announces community-led school safety task force

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BSD announces community-led school safety task force

Mon, 09/14/2020 - 11:55am -- tim
Group will Review SRO Program and Further Work with Restorative Practices

Vermont Business Magazine Burlington School District (BSD) invites members of the community to participate in a School Safety Task Force as requested by the Board of School Commissioners in a resolution passed on June 25, 2020. The resolution charges the School Safety Task Force with reviewing the role of School Resource Officers (SROs) and presenting recommendations to further the District’s policy goals of implementing all elements of Restorative Practices (RP) as part of the District’s priorities of ensuring equitable and safe inclusive schools.

Those interested in joining the School Safety Task Force should complete the online application today or visit www.bsdvt.org to learn more. 

“The work of this Task Force is vital not only to our school district but to our community at large,” said Sparks, BSD Director of Equity and Safe/Inclusive Schools. “This process will give our community an opportunity to be included in the conversation regarding the District’s SRO program in the district. Considering what's going on across the country with law enforcement and BIPOC communities, our district must pay strict attention to what we're hearing from some of our students, families, and the community.”

“This is an important conversation and I’m glad that we have a chance to engage our community in the process,” said Superintendent Tom Flanagan. “Whenever we are creating or changing programs meant to serve the community, we need to make sure the community is involved in the decision making process. I’m looking forward to collaborative work and conversations that will help our BSD grow and serve students.” 

The School Safety Task Force’s charge is to present a plan that accomplishes the following objectives:

– Identify and document the original intention of the SRO presence in the schools and the functions SROs perform in the school.

– Determine which of these functions must be performed by uniformed law enforcement officials and which functions are to be done jointly with BSD staff.

– Develop options for alternative approaches that reinforce a restorative model for all of Burlington’s students/youth during and outside school hours.

– Ensure the safety of all of Burlington’s students/youth during and outside of school hours using a Restorative Practices model that eliminates the traumatizing effects associated with weapons, uniforms, and a police presence communicated by some of the District’s students and community members.

The Task Force will be comprised not more than nine people, including BSD leaders, school commissioners or a commissioner designee, a city councilor or councilor designee, a student, a parent, and a community member with lived experience with SRO’s, restorative practices, law enforcement, criminal justice reform, and youth development.

The School Safety Task Force will meet for at least two hours a week for two months and produce a report of recommendations by December 2020. This is a voluntary role; there is no compensation for participating in this Task Force. Applicants will need to be available to attend all meetings, both in-person and remotely. Those interested in joining the task force should complete the online application today or visit www.bsdvt.org  or contact Sparks (at HSparks@bsdvt.org) to learn more. 

Burlington School District (BSD) is a pre-k-12 public school system of about 4,000 students in Burlington, VT. BSD’s mission is to graduate students who: value different cultures, engage with the community, communicate effectively, think creatively, skillfully solve problems, and achieve at their highest academic, intellectual, and personal potential.  Join the Journey! www.bsdvt.org

Source: Burlington, VT Burlington School District 9.14.2020