Armed officer could return to Sandburg Middle School after string of incidents last school year
Robbinsdale Area Schools could see the return of a school resource officer after several issues at Sandburg Middle School in Golden Valley — a potential reversal of a decision two years ago to not have police in schools.
Concerns ran high after three separate reports of students either bringing or possibly bringing guns to schools in the district last November.
Parents criticized the school district for waiting several days to tell police. Two students were eventually charged with felonies in one of those incidents.
In June, police said two students started arguing inside the school. The confrontation moved outside the building, and one of the students was injured in a stabbing.
Now an armed school resource officer could soon be back at Sandburg.
“I like the idea of an officer in the schools because I want to make sure the kids are safe and I feel like they promote safety,” said Griffin Humlicek-Spindler, a parent of a Robbinsdale Area Schools student.
For Humlicek-Spindler, it’s a better option right now even if some students feel uncomfortable with an officer in the hallways.
“If they felt uncomfortable with it, then I would hope the officers would make them feel more comfortable instead of not being there,” he said. “You know, just work to have a better rapport with the kids instead of not having them there.”
Robbinsdale Area Schools declined an interview request with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, but a spokesperson for the district issued a statement saying it plans to partner with Golden Valley to staff the position.
“We have had productive conversations and are working together collaboratively with the City of Golden Valley to find solutions that are best for the Robbinsdale Area Schools community — staff, students and families,” the district wrote. “We have had a long and solid partnership with the City and know that we will find success in our conversations while considering the option of having a school resource officer.”
Golden Valley Police Chief Virgil Green says the contract is currently under review by the school district.
“Then our city council will approve it, their board of educators will approve it, and then we’ll start working on this SRO that we need to put into the school when the school year starts,” Green said.
Chief Green says placing an officer at Sandburg improves safety but also builds more trust.
“You know, you got that percentage of kids who may have a desire to become a police officer,” Green said. “So, now they’re around somebody who they can ask questions and they can build relationships with.”
Green says the goal right now is to get the agreement done quickly so there’s an officer in school by late August.
There is some pushback to the plan, however.
The city’s Peace Commission argues having an armed officer embedded in a middle school is disproportionately harmful to students of color and claims schools with a police presence have a higher arrest rate than those without.