Metro police: Students' 'verbal abuse' of officers factor in removing them from Nashville schools
Mariah Timms, Nashville Tennessean Published Feb. 12, 2019 |
Staffing changes among Metro police include moving three School Resource Officers from two Nashville schools, and placing them at other facilities.
Reports of "verbal abuse" by students aimed at Metro police officers assigned to two Nashville schools have, in part, prompted the department to reassign them to new locations.
Staffing changes among the Metro Nashville Police Department include moving three school resource officers from two Nashville schools and placing them at other facilities.
The SRO program includes 62 MNPD employees, including seven sergeants and one lieutenant. According to Metro schools spokesperson Dawn Rutledge, that usually includes one SRO at each middle school and two at each high school.
"We've had good conversations with schools. We're not totally disappearing," MNPD spokesperson Kris Mumford said.
She explained that officers are being moved from the two alternative schools because the officers did not feel they were able to do their jobs — including developing relationships with the students to mentor and educate them, as evidenced by the reported abuse.
Rutledge confirmed the officers would be moved to mainstream schools.
Metro Nashville Student Resource Officer Latonya Thames
Metro Nashville Student Resource Officer Latonya Thames (Photo: Metro Nashville Police)
"We understand the position of MNPD, and we remain committed to continuing conversations and maintaining a positive working relationship," Rutledge said in an emailed statement.
MNPD confirmed SROs Craig Gentry, John Jeanbaptiste and Latonya Thames were the ones being moved, as they are the most recent officers at the schools in question. They are moving into open positions at other schools.
Department says verbal abuse 'ongoing'
The verbal abuse has been going on for a long time, Mumford said. However, the exact length of that ongoing abuse, or the content of the comments, was not something she was able to confirm.
"This is something we've been thinking about for a while," she said. "We appreciate our relationship with schools. Our SROs do great work in those schools every day.
Mumford explained that an SRO's role includes three aspects: Education, mentoring and law enforcement, and that several officers found it difficult to develop those important relationships.
"They're not there to be security guards," she said.
Some SROs are involved in teaching classes on staying away from drugs and avoiding bad crowds, along with "building up" students, she said.
The department plans to continue to visit the schools, with patrol officers stopping by the schools on a likely daily basis.
"The safety of students is our first priority," Rutledge said. "We believe their (MNPD's) presence is valuable in our schools and that their officers have a lot to share which positively impacts our students and the community as a whole."
MNPS has security teams on-site at district schools, but that SROs have more power and responsibility in those ecosystems, Rutledge said.
Rutledge did not comment on the allegations of verbal abuse, but restated that the district would continue to focus on what is best for students.
The two schools are Johnson Alternative and the other is Bass Alternative, two schools that I have been to many times. Bass not as frequent and when there I have been lucky and not experienced first hand what I suspect is an ongoing daily drama but Johnson is two blocks from my home is both a middle and high school for students at risk. The two Officers there I am very familiar. The woman cop is new this year and clearly she did not even make it to the end of the school year. The school was on the outsourced list last year so she may have been added as I did not work for that service which is another controversial contract currently facing the district or just one of many many problems here in the Dumpsters that mask as public schools.
When I was last at Johnson there was another lockdown and they went from room to room to give us the full TSA. I was in the room with two students and the girl who was locked in with us was the most disturbed I have seen of late. Again she is not more violent or more dangerous just of late as I have gone out of my way to avoid this bullshit this year. She raised her hand in my direction close to my face, verbally abused me and in turn never ended the endless dialog that ran from her head out of her mouth. If in fact I had been locked in with any more kids I would have opened the door and walked out for my own safety. Walking from room to room without any communication as to the purpose puts us all at risk as the student that is the one they are looking for could easily pull out a weapon, hold us hostage or kill us.
This insanity only proves that no one really knows what the fuck they are doing when it comes to these situations and this week in The Atlantic they discuss how all these active shooter drills and practice scenarios accomplish nothing but in fact could actually inform the assailant on how to avoid or circumvent the process and only add to childhood trauma. And it appears that was the case in Florida last year (we are now at anniversary) as he knew to get in the building guns in a guitar case and to pull a fire alarm to generate the chaos that enabled him to kill as many as he did and in turn exit among the crowd.
Now in Nashville here guns are as big as an accessory as guitars and they are by far more used to settle any disagreement to rob and assault anyone they pass. The other day the funeral happened for the young white musician killed on his front porch by very young teenagers. And today another group of teens with a stolen car and stolen gun were found arguing over whatever kids argue over. Then another shooting where two men over an argument lived up to the saying: "It's all well and good til someone loses an eye." Well surprise he did when he was shot in the eye.
So here we have assigned Police Officers who are quitting the job they were hired for because they cannot take the verbal abuse. Really? I hear it daily and it is why I rarely sub but I can afford to but in reality can anyone who works in those schools (or most of them) have the luxury of going "I am not going to take it anymore" and walk out? These are people with guns and training but maybe that is the problem they can't shoot these kids and say they were afraid for their lives. Well they could but the cameras and witnesses would possible negate that says the 60 year old Teacher with a bad hip. Okay I don't have a bad hip but its tight and I need to work on my Yoga practice clearly!
Again two of the Officers are black and the white cop has been at Johnson at least two years as when my cell phone was stolen two years ago he informed to not bring my lunch there as they would steal it just to steal it. He he is a piece of work and he let angry teens drive him out so they win. They always win here as the race card is tossed and that ends the game.
The kids are troubled, poor and largely faces of color. They are sent to a school ill equipped and funded with the appropriate resources in which to learn how to control their anger, manage depression and resolve conflict. They are often functionally illiterate and have learning disabilities and other problems that have not been addressed in the mainstream schools, they are cans kicked down the road and thrown from dumpster to dumpster until they are crushed. I could go on and on but at this point here in Music City it is a broken record on a busted turntable.
The report came out about mental health access across the country for children and of course Tennessee (and the rest of the South) came in dead last for said resources. But hey did you know we are getting the NFL Draft here in April! Shiny keys to distract you from the truth.
According to the Association for Children’s Mental Health, addressing mental health needs in schools is vital because “1 in 5 children and youth have a diagnosable emotional, behavioral or mental health disorder, and 1 in 10 young people have a mental health challenge that is severe enough to impair how they function at home, school or in the community.” And it says that many estimates show that among kids aged 6 to 17, “at least one-half and many estimate as many as 80 percent” don’t receive the mental health care they require.
And this includes school counselors who can flag students academic performance which over time can be a strong indicator of a student's emotional health. And there are few Nurses let alone Social Workers who also are needed to simply address other issues, such as health care and family dynamics that are all flags as well. And we all say that schools should be properly staffed with health professionals; however, that has not been the focus of modern school reformers, who have focused not on the health of students but on testing metrics. Maybe more tests about social emotional and wellness, ya think? Meanwhile Teachers are on strike as they are constantly asked to do more with less and even in Denver another city that was ground zero for the reform movement (even electing a Governor who was a part of that) they finally got woke.
I was at a "choice" school the other day and again the kids were just kids, annoying but no more annoying or less than any other just less abusive. They were loud, off task and constantly apologetic for their behavior which indicates self awareness and when I finally mentioned that to the outside they looked nuts but from my interactions I knew they were not which was why I was less inclined to intervene. They managed to pay attention for a minute and then it was back to their antics once I stopped the difference was I even told them that, in regular schools I just watch this bullshit, put my earphones in and read. I did not have to raise my voice or yell I just talked to them that is impossible in mainstream schools they are too disturbed to even rationalize with.
Just another broken record and it at some point needs to get tossed. Irony that it is tossed into a public school as if they need to hear anymore sad songs.