General Assembly passes bill requiring attorney general, education officials to publish data on resource officers


STATE HOUSE — The General Assembly today passed legislation introduced by Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) and Sen. Sandra Cano (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket) that would require the attorney general to publish information on school resource officers.

“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 bill (2022-H 6649, 2022-S 2578) 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.

“School safety is understandably on everyone’s minds lately and we must do everything in our power to ensure our children and staff are safe and secure during the school day,” said Senator Cano, who chairs the Senate Education Committee. “Some people believe school resource officers are integral to safe schools while others believe their presence has a detrimental effect on students. In order to keep our kids safe while providing them the best educational opportunities possible, we need the data to see what is working, what can be improved and what can truly best protect our students while at school.”

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 governor’s office.