House passes McNamara bill requiring attorney general, education officials to publish data on resource officers


STATE HOUSE — The House of Representatives today passed legislation introduced by Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) that would require the attorney general to publish information on school resource officers.

The bill (2022-H 6649) would require the Department of Education in coordination with the attorney general to collect and publish data concerning school resource officers in each district, including use of force against students, arrests, and referrals to law enforcement or courts.

“The enforcement of law and student discipline has a major impact on school climate,” said Representative McNamara, who chairs the House Education Committee. “It’s imperative that we receive reports and consistent data to make informed policy decisions as it relates to school resource officers and school discipline — particularly the disparities that exist in school arrests in relation to race and disabilities.”

The data would be published in a manner that protects the identities of students and would be collected and designated by student age, grade, race, ethnicity, gender, language status and disability, to the extent that such demographic data is available.

The measure now moves to the Senate, which has passed companion legislation (2022-S2578) sponsored by Sen. Sandra Cano (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket).