Unite Norman Fights to Save School Resource Officers (SROs) at Tonight’s City Council Meeting

To Turn Down $500,000 Grant for Children’s Safety Would Be “Foolish” At Least One City Council Member Under Recall Has Suggested Turning Down the Money because School is “Virtual” This Month — but the Grant is for the NEXT 3 YEARS NORMAN — Unite Norman is supporting School Resource Officers (SROs) as the city council is set to vote on a federal grant for the program tonight. The council is scheduled to vote on whether to accept $500,000 in grant money from the Department of Justice’s school safety program. But as usual with this council, there is a fly in the ointment. At least one city council member — Allison Petrone — has stated that because school is currently virtual, they should decline the free grant money. However, the money would fund the next three years of the program — long after COVID-19 is gone. (Just yesterday, there were zero new cases in Norman.) The battle over what should be an easy decision — ensuring the safety of our children in their schools — is the latest in a series of votes against law enforcement. “To turn down $500,000 in, in essence, free grant money to the city of Norman that would help ensure the safety of children in schools would be foolish,” said Russell Smith, co-founder of Unite Norman. “This council is so blinded by their hatred for law enforcement officers, it seems that they’ll vote against anything having to do with law enforcement and public safety — even if it hurts our children.” “If the city council turns down a half-million dollars in free grant money during a period in which they claim to have a budget shortage, then they leave us with no other conclusion than that they are anti-law enforcement,” said Sassan Moghadam, co-founder of Unite Norman. “Continuing to punish law enforcement for events that have happened not in Norman, but around the country is wrong. The citizens who will actually get punished will be the people of Norman and the children of Norman.” The vote tonight comes on the heels of the city council voting to defund the police by nearly $1 Million, and Unite Norman states that this cut would be considered just another step in destroying investment in public safety in Norman. Exact verbiage on the School Resource Officer (SRO) program grant can be found here: https://norman.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=8740625&GUID=1892AEBA-3B78-4D13-AA3C-EEB3FD35966A Parents and members of Unite Norman will be at city hall tonight to use the publicly-provided computer to give remarks in support of accepting the grant money for the school safety program. ###

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