AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Today the Amarillo Independent School District board unanimously voted in favor of forming a school district police department.
The AISD superintendent, Doug Loomis says this is more about enhancing security by giving the current security team more jurisdiction.
The two security staff members are commissioned out of the Randall County Sheriff’s Office, however AISD schools are across both Potter and Randall counties.
The formation of the school district’s own department aims to allow the security officers to more easily operate across all schools as they would now be part of the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement.
However, there is already police presence at several AISD schools through the partnership the district has with the Amarillo Police Department.
That partnership provides thirteen police officers who are trained to work with and around youth.
The superintendent says this decision is not meant to replace the current “Student Liaison Unit” partnership the school district has with the APD.
But, some in attendance do not agree with the decision to increase police presence.
“Now more than ever we gotta provide security and safety for our students. We cannot create or continue the policing of children, we must address that situation with therapist and that we need to not reinforce the school to prison pipeline,” said Joanne Storm, an AISD Pre-K teacher and vice president of the Amarillo Education Association.
On the other hand, the superintendent says this is not about a school to prison pipeline but rather a precaution to increase the safety of students.
“The world has changed and the laws have changed. We do have a bigger divide in what we can do and what APD can do,” said AISD superintendent, Doug Loomis “That is always a relationship we have to massage because we are always looking out for the rights of our kiddos and we do what we can to make sure we don’t infringe on those rights.”
Now that the board has voted in it’s favor, the superintendent will submit an application with the Texas commission on law enforcement and wait for their approval before moving on.