SRO Absence felt at Barlow


Officer Sasser will be missed at Barlow

Zoey McKnight, Staff Writer

The Gresham Police Department has pulled the SRO program. A School Resource Officer (SRO) is a police officer that takes extra time to train and work in schools. They have the ability to arrest and, according to Assistant Principal Bhear, Officer Sasser worked on outreach, educating juniors and seniors about a variety of things but specifically social media responsibility, and he did, “a tremendous amount of work with the public at sporting events,” said Bhear. 

Lots of students are confused about why we don’t have an SRO while others assume they were removed because some feel unsafe with a police officer in the building, but according to Bhear,The Gresham Police Department was so short-staffed from special assignments they took them all back. I think they were eight officers short and so they pulled them back to work in the community.”

An anonymous survey was given to students to share their opinions about the removal of the SRO. When asked how they feel about it, 63% said they felt bad, 32.3% had no opinion, and 4.7% felt good. 

One student said they felt bad about it because, “I think kids feel like they have more freedom and they can do whatever they want, which can cause more fights or more kids smoking on campus.“ 

When asked if they want the SRO to return, 77.2% said yes, 20.5% had no opinion, and 2.4% said no. Lastly, when asked if they feel more or less safe with an SRO in the building 59.1% said more safe, 22.8% said they don’t feel any different, and 18.8% said they feel less safe. One student expressed that the SRO doesn’t feel like a necessary precaution.

While it is true that some students have expressed concern over the safety of their peers when there’s an SRO in the school, one student stated, “some students might feel uncomfortable with an SRO because they’re a part of a marginalized community and there is a lot of police brutality against those people.” It appears the majority of students surveyed believe that it will make them feel safer to have an SRO in the building. 

There were an overwhelming amount of students saying, “I felt safer knowing there was an adult in the building who can legally put a stop to an unsafe incident,” and another saying, “I feel more safe knowing that there is someone in the building ready and willing to react at any moment to protect me and my classmates from a potential threat.” 

“The Gresham Barlow School District and Principal Bruce Schmidt have hired a fourth campus monitor, Marqus Hudson, to make sure Barlow is as safe as possible,” said Damon Burns, a Barlow campus monitor, “Also I want to add that we’re here to help solve problems before they escalate, our door is always open to make sure everyone feels safe at Barlow.” If you see something or hear something concerning, please tell an adult at school. Teachers, staff, administrators, and campus monitors are here to help.

“We feel strongly administratively, and I think the community feels strongly that having an SRO is value-added at Barlow high school,” Bhear stated. When asked if there is a possibility of an SRO coming back, he added that there is definitely a good chance, however we don’t know exactly when because of the long training time. Regardless of your opinion on the SRO program, Officer Sasser will be missed in the Barlow community.