Columbus Police Removing 22 Officers From Columbus City Schools
Columbus Police announced they are eliminating the placement of 20 high school resource officers and two sergeants within Columbus City Schools.
As part of protests over police violence and racism, local activists have been calling on Columbus City Schools to end their relationship with Columbus Police.
The department said its three-year contract with the district expired at the end of June and no new contract has been approved. The officers were given a 70-day notice on Monday, but will keep their jobs.
“I have the duty to ensure proper distribution of personnel and without a contract in place," Quinlin said in a statement. "I am required to assign the officers to a position that is operational and essential."
Last month, the Columbus Board of Education announced the creation of a Safe Schools Working Group to evaluate the district's relationship with police. At the same time, school board president Jennifer Adair said "it is a perfect time to pause and not renegotiate our contract with the Columbus Police Department and reevaluate what the best needs are for our district around safety and security as a whole."
Columbus City Schools says that officers were stationed in high school buildings when classes were held in person. However, the district's new reopening plan calls for high schoolers to remain entirely remote for the first half of the school year.
According to Quinlan, Worthington City School District has a seperate contract with the police, and an officer assigned to Worthington Kilbourne High School will remain on assignment.
A group of protesters held a rally last month outside Adair's home to demand the removal of school resource officers. Activists like Kanyinsola Oye say that police make students feel unsafe, and argue the money would be better used on counselors and social workers.
"Their presence alone was causing fear in a lot of Black and brown students," says Oye, a graduate of Columbus City Schools. "Especially because they have an increased amount of trauma due to police violence taking place in their neighborhoods or police violence that they’ve actually seen."
Oye says the move to remove officers from the district is a big step in the right direction.
"This will be a breather for so many students for so long that have been brutalized by the hands of the cops," she says. "They can finally feel safe in their schools."
The district's new Safe Schools Working Group has yet to be seated, but is supposed to provide recommendations in November.