Teachers’ unions push for SRO removal from schools despite educators’ support of officers

The leaders of Minnesota’s teachers’ union, Education Minnesota, are standing with groups who want to make schools less safe by defunding the police and taking away School Resource Officers (SROs).

But recent polling in Minnesota shows a large majority—87 percent—of union households support their local police departments. Eighty-four percent of union households say they feel safe around their local police. And most teachers say they want to keep School Resource Officers at their schools.

According to a survey by the EdWeek Research Center, only 23 percent of educators support removing police officers from schools. Thirty percent say officers are needed in their schools because “too many students are out of control.” Nearly 3 out of 4 teachers, principals, and district leaders say the officers are needed for protection against outsiders intent on doing harm to students and staff.

The push by Education Minnesota’s national affiliate, the National Education Association (NEA), to remove officers from schools is dramatically different from its previous sentiments, which referred to SROs as “role models for students and staff” who are “taught to be accessible and familiar to students so when an emergency occurs, a bond has been set.” When President Obama proposed legislation in 2013 that included appropriating $150 million to hire SROs, both the NEA and the American Federation of Teachers supported the bill.

Why is Education Minnesota ignoring its members and what is most important to teachers—safe, healthy classrooms where they can teach—and using union dues to support groups that are politicizing school safety? Given the rising discipline issues that threaten school safety, students feeling less safe at school, and the rise of school violence, SROs are critical to protecting both students and teachers.

You do not have to financially support a union that ignores your concerns and supports groups that want to make classrooms less safe. Let Education Minnesota know its priorities are out of touch by opting out of union membership during the annual September Window (Sept. 1-30). If you create your letter here in advance, Educated Teachers MN will remind you by email to send your resignation letter in during the window.