BESE calls for placement of school resource officers in public schools to increase security on K-12 campuses

Apr 6, 2023, 07:38 AM by BESE Admin

Board urges state legislature to provide adequate funding for implementation

In response to an increasing nationwide trend of shootings and other acts of violence in school facilities, the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) this week endorsed resolutions aimed at strengthening security in K-12 public schools.

The Board officially requested that public school systems partner with local law enforcement to provide a school resource officer for all schools under their jurisdiction. The Board further requested that the Louisiana Legislature provide adequate funding to school systems to ensure the implementation.

“There should be no higher priority than ensuring the safety of our children,” said BESE President Dr. Holly Boffy. “We urge our partners in the local systems and state lawmakers to take this step in protecting our schools. In addition to strengthening on-site security presence, resource officers can play key roles in developing best practices and procedures for schools to prevent threats to student and employee safety.”

The resolutions were proposed by BESE District 4 Member Michael Melerine at a special called meeting on legislative issues on April 5, and were adopted unanimously by the Board. The resolutions may be viewed here.

“Our first responsibility as education leaders should be to provide a safe and secure environment in which students are free from the threat of violence,” said Melerine. “Increasing the security of public school facilities by placing trained resource officers in every school is an important part of the solution to school safety concerns, and a necessary move towards protecting our children and educators.”

In the summer of 2022, the Louisiana Department of Education hosted the inaugural Louisiana School Safety Summit, which brought system leaders, law enforcement and other agencies together to share and discuss best practices related to school safety and emergency preparedness. A follow-up survey of Louisiana schools following the Summit indicated approximately 67 percent (of 73 percent of schools responding) currently have a school resource officer.

Louisiana Revised Statute 17:416.9 provides that any city, parish, local public school system, or nonpublic school may enter into agreements with local law enforcement agencies to provide for school resource officers. BESE’s resolution would require officers to be certified by a nationally accredited school resource officer program or a state training program certified by the Council on Peace Officer Standards and Training. The Board also requested that school systems annually report the total number of school resource officers to the Louisiana Department of Education.

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For more information, contact:
Kevin Calbert

BESE is the administrative policymaking body for elementary and secondary schools in Louisiana. The Board sets key education initiatives and works to outline an education agenda to achieve continuous improvement of public education as measured by student and school achievement