WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — An 18-year-old was arrested with a gun at his school in Northeast D.C. Monday morning.
Police say the man, who is a student at Maya Angelou Public Charter School, was found with a gun while going through security.
It highlights a big debate in D.C. about whether the city should reverse course on eliminating school resource officers (SROs)
Parents are scared for their kid’s safety because we’ve seen such an increase in crime in and around schools, particularly among kids. But not everyone is on the same page about how to combat the issue.
“I am afraid for the children in our schools especially those in my ward, Ward 8, which is why my children do not attend school in Ward 8,” said parent Tyesha Andrews.
Tyesha Andrews is a mom of two boys. She lobbied council members Monday to support kids with vital resources in their community.
“What we’re looking for is support from all of our ward and council members in order to increase funding for school-based mental health programs and out-of-school time programs,” Andrews said.
Those programs, she said, will help keep students out of trouble and get them help when needed — but safety is an issue.
“Some of us do have after-school time programs that are in our communities, but we’re too afraid to send our children there due to the lack of security due to the type of individuals they hang out outside of all of these programs,” Andrews said.
Mayor Muriel Bowser this past weekend said hiring more police in the city is a priority.
“We are going to go into this budget cycle with the appropriate request based on what the chief recommends to us and what we think that we can hire,” Bowser said.
Notably, council members voted to remove all SROs by 2025, something Bowser has been pushing to reverse.
Andrews isn’t against having at least one officer at every school for security.
“However, I think that comes with training,” Andrews said. “There needs to be proper training done on the officers because children should not be felt as though they’re in a penitentiary, the children should not be felt as though they are being policed.”> [Duration:0:13]
She wants Bowser to focus on community volunteers in school.
“The children will be more inclined to open up to the community, individuals versus their teachers and other school staff members, especially versus police officers who a lot of us are frankly afraid of,” Andrews said.