CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Parents have created a petition to keep school resource officers in Charleston County schools after another petition looking to remove them gained more than 1,000 signatures in just a week.
The new petition was by created by Jeffrey Pumilia whose son goes to school in the district.
“I stand with law enforcement officers across this nation and specifically in our schools,” his petition stated. “They are the front-line protectors of our children and stand between much of the evil no one wants to talk about.”
Pumilia created it on CommunityPetition.org, and it’s called “Keep Our Charleston County SROs in Our Schools.”
“With everything going on in the world today, I would not want to send my child to school if they did not have a school resource officer,” Pumilia said. “I go to work every day and my son goes to school, and I feel safe and secure knowing there is an SRO in his school.”
The opposing petition titled “#CopsOutofCCSD Remove Police from Charleston County Schools” demands “the Charleston County Council and School Board defund and remove police from Charleston County Schools.”
It recommends those funds “be invested in student and teacher supports such as mental health counselors, student concern specialists, school psychologists, guidance counselors, crisis intervention specialists, and student/parent advocates.”
“We don’t have to have one or the other,” Pumilia said. “We already have both. If we need to expand on them, then that’s the job of the school board. They have to find a way to expand on those necessary occupations.”
School district spokesperson Andy Pruitt responded to the newly-formed petition.
“We believe school resource officers are a critical part of the district’s overall security plans to keep students and staff safe,” Pruitt said. “We also believe that an important part of their role is to help create positive and lasting relationships between children and law enforcement agencies.”
The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, Charleston Police Department, Mount Pleasant Police Department, and North Charleston Police Department all have officers inside Charleston County schools.