Hayes’ budget amendment for additional safe schools resource officers turned down
An amendment to a proposed supplemental state operating budget to provide $30 million for additional school resource officers in Washington's K-12 public schools will not be funded, Rep. Dave Hayes, R-Camano Island, said disappointedly today.
Hayes, who works with the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office and is assistant ranking Republican on the House Public Safety Committee, urged lawmakers to approve the amendment during debate on the House floor Friday evening.
“This bill would provide funding administered through the Educational Service Districts to put school resource officers in those schools that need them the most — many of which do not have those officers. These additional officers could help protect our children from the violence inflicting our schools. They can help to keep our kids safe. What is more important in our society than the protection of our children?” asked Hayes.
“Beyond the important role of safety, school resource officers engage young kids as mentors and coaches, especially those children marginalized or at risk and need the most attention. Kids who might otherwise be afraid of law enforcement officers get the ability with a school resource officer to have positive contact in a safe environment — an officer who is approachable and interacts daily with kids on more of a social level than an authoritative level,” added Hayes.
Hayes noted $30 million is a fraction of the $1.3 billion budget surplus the state recently learned it is getting.
“We need to properly prioritize our budget and take care of our children who need the most protection by creating safe learning environments in our schools,” he said.
After considerable debate, mostly positive for expanding school resource officer funding, the amendment was narrowly rejected 49-48 on a near party-line vote, with only one Democrat voting in favor.
“There's an enormous amount of discussion in the Legislature, especially following the tragic school shooting in Florida, about improving safety in our schools. This was a reasonable way to do it and help our kids. It's disappointing that there's a lot of talk, but the only action was rejecting a small appropriation that would have ensured safer schools,” said Hayes.
###Washington State House Republican Communications