Breaking News
More () »

Fayetteville city council voted 7-1 in approval for school resource officer grant

After hours of discussion and public comment on Tuesday night, the city of Fayetteville approved a grant to two more school resource officers.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — After hours of discussion and public comment on Tuesday night, the city of Fayetteville approved a grant in support of two more school resource officers (SRO).

Community members gathered in support of the federal grant, emphasizing the security and positive relationships students have with officers. Parents say in light of recent mass shootings nationwide, students and parents have anxieties and fears about going to school.

"When I look at what's happening in Denver and places like that, I don't want that to happen here and be the mayor of a city where something like that happens. We're going to try to prevent it to the best of my abilities and this council's ability," Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan proclaimed.

A similar ordinance passed in August of 2022 to hire two new SROs every year until every Fayetteville campus has one. Currently, they have 16 schools with only seven SROs, and Superintendent Dr. John L Colbert says more officers are needed in the district. 

"It's very important in so many ways— firstly, there is a safety aspect. It just makes the students feel comfortable. They know that they can have a police officer in the building who can be there to address any issue that may come up. That makes them feel safe that the person is there," Colbert said.

One parent at the council meeting agreed that "Clearing a path for well-trained SROS to walk our hallways daily, along with strong mental health services and recommended security measures will help patch our vulnerabilities."

The approved grant will create 11 sro positions starting in the 2024-2025 school year. As of now, Fayetteville public schools will cover the cost.

"The other piece is covered by the city, so we do go ahead and cover their salary during the time they work for the schools ... that's how we help cover the cost of the SROS," Colbert explained. 

Fayetteville public schools have not assigned SRO’s to elementary schools, just a rotating one if something were to happen. For some parents, this raises some concerns. One Fayetteville parent said, "How can you expect our teachers, our administrators, our front office staff to do their best if they don't feel safe? How can you ask that of our children?"

"Hopefully once we go ahead and implement the SROs that have been approved, we'll be able to assign them to a middle school and they would rotate to cover the elementary schools until we get an SRO at each of those particular schools," said Colbert. 

If this federal grant is approved it will go into effect in the 2024-2025 school year.

Follow 5NEWS on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

Download the 5NEWS app on your smartphone:

Stream 5NEWS 24/7 on the 5+ app: How to watch the 5+ app on your streaming device

To report a typo or grammatical error, please email KFSMDigitalTeam@tegna.com and detail which story you're referring to.

Before You Leave, Check This Out