Administrators with the New Bedford Public Schools are seeking input on the mission and effectiveness of the School Resource Officer program.

Ongoing discussions with students and staff will be followed by a virtual community conversation for the public on Wednesday, October 14 at 5 p.m. Pre-registration is required. Those who wish to participate must sign up at https://tinyurl.com/NBPS-SRO-Meeting.

Superintendent Thomas Anderson said the objective is to assess the mission and effectiveness of the program that places police officers in the city's public schools. He said he hopes structured conversations with students, staff, and the public will "generate deep thinking and paint a clear picture of our next steps.” Anderson said the input "will help determine our next steps based on the data generated from the series of meetings.”

Police officers have been in the city's schools for many years, Anderson noted. "This is an emotionally charged social issue for many in our community, and for me both personally and professionally," he said in a statement. "We are obligated to be transparent and objective in our thinking. We all have different realities and to eradicate racism and inequities on all levels we must have candid respectful dialogue.”

The Oct. 14 meeting, to be held on the Zoom platform, is hosted by the school district's Wraparaound Services Department. Department manager Jariel Vergne said to expect a welcome and introduction with an overview video followed by smaller facilitated breakout sessions. Then all participants will reconvene.

If New Bedford community members would like to share their experience anonymously, they may do so by completing a survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NG5YTNK. The survey is also available in Spanish: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/66C9WJ6, Portuguese: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/6WVQ3HW, and K'iche: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/6CFFWKP.

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