Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

SROs discontinued following new laws

With legislation updated statewide, the Ramsey County Sheriff’s department and the Mounds View Police Department pull out of Mounds View District Schools

Some Minnesota students returning to school this fall noticed a shift in school security as about 40 law enforcement agencies withdrew Student Resource Officers (SROs) from school districts following changes to state law.

The Omnibus Education Bill, which received Governor Walz’s signature in May, now prohibits any school employee or agent from using forms of physical contact on students, including prone restraint, which it defines as placing a child in a facedown position. However, it gives an exception in the case of potential impending bodily harm or death.

In response to the updated law, the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department and the Mounds View Police Department have discontinued their SRO partnership with the Mounds View School District. Conversely, the New Brighton Department of Public Safety has not pulled SROs, leaving Bel Air, Highview, Irondale, Pike Lake and Sunnyside as the only schools in the district that will continue with onsite SROs.  

Deputy Abhi Sachdev, who began as Mounds View’s SRO last school year, will no longer be stationed on campus full-time. Instead, he will carry the title of School Liaison and include Mounds View High School in his daily patrol.

These changes do not affect patrol officers responding to a school and only apply to school resource officers, as explained by Steve Linders, spokesperson for the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office. “What this law does is it creates a double standard,” he said, highlighting that the law does not affect officers in schools as long as they are not affiliated with the school as SROs are.

Law enforcement agencies’ primary concern with the law is the legal risk. “Officers need the flexibility to restrain a person on the ground,” Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher told KARE 11. “We can’t have the risk of one of our officers being accused of a crime for doing his job. We train them to use prone restraint.” 

  Minnesota House and Senate Republicans believe this is an issue that needs to be fixed urgently, calling on Walz to convene a special session. While he has said he’s open to it, Walz is hopeful for another solution that doesn’t include bringing lawmakers to the State Capitol. “All of us want our buildings safe, and all of us want to make sure that excessive force is not used on our students, and I think finding that middle ground shouldn’t be all that difficult,” he said.

Sheriff Fletcher said he expects the matter will go before a judge and will wait on such a decision until reinstating SROs. “Once we get clarity, one way or another, we’ll be able to make more informed decisions about police officers and their place in schools,” said Linders. 

After meeting with police groups on Sept. 20, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison offered assurances that officers can prioritize school safety and enforce law, although it is still unclear when exactly SROs will return to schools.

About the Contributor
Tyler Quattrin, Print Editor-in-Chief
Hello! I’m thrilled to be a Print Editor-in-Chief for my third year on The Viewer and looking forward to a fantastic Volume 71. Feel free to reach out to me directly at [email protected].
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