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School resource officers play crucial role in incidents at Waukesha, Oshkosh high schools

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WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- School resource officers played central roles in the incidents at Waukesha South High School and Oshkosh West High School.

In Waukesha, each high school has its own SRO assigned by the police department.

Several districts in our area have similar arrangements.

Each police department trains its own officers.

Many parents and students at Waukesha South were grateful to have the SRO during Monday’s incident.

His siblings were proud too. His sister said, “My brother amazes me every day. He’s a hero in my eyes."

The officer’s brother added, “We’re very proud of him.”

Milton Stubbs, the executive director of Wisconsin Juvenile Officers Association, says SROs have to adjust to being in schools.

They learn to respect the controlled setting and the authority of the administration.

“You don’t just step in and become the discipliner when they have a principal and a dean of students, so you have to make sure you’re not stepping into their role,” Stubbs said.

Stubbs says students learn how to properly interact with officers.

“It teaches them not to be afraid of officers, that we’re just out trying to conduct a job,” he said.

Yaniliz Rosario, a youth organizer for Leaders Igniting Transformation, an advocacy group for people of color, feels differently.

She rejects the idea that police make schools safer.

“I did not appreciate it at all [when I was in high school],” Rosario said. “I never understood why I had to see somebody with a gun every time I walked into school.”

Rosario believes the money spent on SROs should go toward counselors and mental health resources.

“Interact with [students], engage them, rather than be an authoritative figure,” she said.

The Waukesha PD says on its website that putting police in schools doesn’t necessarily mean the schools are unsafe.

They say it’s about putting resources where people are most concentrated.

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