The Montana Racial Equity Project (MTREP) and the ACLU of Montana have sent a letter to Rachel Harlow-Schalk, Helena City Manager, regarding serious concerns with the City of Helena’s School Resource Officer (SRO) MOU Working Group. This Working Group was formed after an intense community discussion regarding SROs during July’s City Council meeting. The original stated purpose of this group was to have a robust discussion surrounding the purpose and utility of having SROs in Helena school districts. However, no such discussion has taken place at these meetings.
“ACLU-MT is open to constructive discussions about the use of school resource officers,” said Caitlin Borgmann, ACLU-MT Executive Director. “However, we have no interest in attending meetings if the working group is not sticking to its original stated purpose. It is clear that the people of Helena have serious concerns with SROs. If the group will not take these concerns into consideration, we will be forced to pull out of these meetings and withdraw our support of this working group.”
“After attending the initial working group meeting, it became clear that there was no interest in a real conversation surrounding school resource officers,” said Akilah Lane, ACLU-MT Staff Attorney. “We joined this group expecting meaningful dialogue about the roles and purpose of SROs. Instead, we found that the group was stacked with pro-SRO committee members that had no interest in discussing alternatives.”