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Cincinnati School Board votes to reaffirm commitment to police in district schools

Students stand outside the Sept. 12 Cincinnati School Board meeting to protest police in the district's schools.
Nick Swartsell
A past demonstration by CPS students protesting the presence of school resource officers, or SROs, in CPS schools.

The Cincinnati Public School Board passed a resolution Monday night reaffirming its support of police officers in district schools.

That's not what activists who have been working to get school resources officers — or SROs — out of CPS wanted to hear. Those activists, many of them students, are concerned about racial disparities in school discipline.

About a dozen members of the Young Activists Coalition gathered outside Monday night's board meeting to protest the SRO program, and eight later spoke during the CPS board's public comment session.

CPS student Bella Gordo was among them.

"Today you are voting to perpetuate the harmful and unjust criminalization of students by allowing SROs to remain in schools," Gordo told the board.

A recent study by the ACLU of Ohio suggests big racial disparities in who gets discipline in CPS. For example, it found Black students were six times more likely to receive out-of-school suspension than their white counterparts.

The student group has been pushing for an end to the SRO program for the past two years. Most board members disagreed with their approach, but acknowledged the disparities they highlighted and the commitment they've displayed.

"We've got some excellent SROs who are wonderful people dedicated to youth," board member Kareem Moffett said. "They are preventing crime."

Not everyone agreed. Board member Mike Moroski was the sole “no” vote on the resolution supporting the SRO program. He said the district has made progress, but he still hasn't seen enough evidence refuting the ACLU of Ohio's study.

Nick has reported from a nuclear waste facility in the deserts of New Mexico, the White House press pool, a canoe on the Mill Creek, and even his desk one time.