Law enforcement again call for special session on SRO law
Several local law enforcement organizations and leaders are continuing their push for changes to the updated law regarding school resource officers (SROs).
Officials from the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association, Minnesota Sheriffs’ Association and local departments on Wednesday morning again called for a special session to change the SRO law.
It comes two weeks after Minnesota Republicans and some local law enforcement officials initially called for a special session to repeal the change made to the law this spring. That update prohibits SROs and school staff from “using prone restraint and comprehensive restraint on the head, neck and across most of the torso,” but Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison has said the law still allows for “reasonable force” to prevent injuries or death.
Supporters of the updated law spoke last week and urged lawmakers to leave the changes alone and not hold a special session, saying SROs and staff shouldn’t be putting their hands on students anyway and should be focusing on using other de-escalation methods unless there is an imminent threat of danger, in which case the law already has an exception.
More than three dozen DFL state lawmakers have also noted their opposition to a special session to change the law, while Gov. Tim Walz has said he remains open to a special session but signaled his desire to avoid that if possible.
The latest press conference from law enforcement officials also comes after a fight inside Mankato East High School on Friday, which reignited the debate over the SRO law and prompted the victim’s mother to call for the return of the district’s SRO program.
A total of 31 agencies are known to have ended their SRO programs until the law is updated, but many others are continuing their programs, including Bloomington.
An online petition has been created to urge the governor and state lawmakers to call a special session and change the SRO law.
House Minority Leader Lisa Demuth (R-Cold Spring) released the following statement Wednesday:
“Despite Gov. Walz’s claims, this issue is clearly not resolved — we need to listen to education leaders, law enforcement, and parents who are asking us to take action and work to return every single SRO back to our schools.
“It’s disappointing that the Governor seems to be listening to the fringe minority of his party instead of the bipartisan majority of legislators who want to see this fixed. If he calls a special session, we can get this fixed and passed. Republicans are ready — we just need the Governor to lead and call a special session.”
Wednesday’s full news conference can be found below.