LA CROSSE Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – La Crosse Central High School students are continuing to show their support for school resource officers.

“Recently at school, there have been many issues that have brought to light many severe problems at our school, such as bullying and violence issues, in which the administration has been too overworked to help out.”

“I want to be safe in school as anyone else does, and I’d argue that SRO’s are one of the biggest reasons why we’re safer.”

Michael Deyo and Kaden Young were among the student speakers at last week’s school board meeting who advocated keeping SRO’s in the district.

Superintendent Aaron Engel is glad to see students speak out but says there is more to the SRO decision than just public input.

“We do our best to make data-driven decisions and to evaluate the needs against the goals of the program,” said Engel.

After evaluating their performance, the district has decided to maintain three SRO positions for the next school year. Engel says the district is working on ways outside of police involvement to help students, but those practices need time to develop.

“Proactive social services and restorative justice, we hope that those alternate pathways for justice, as well as additional supports for students, will over time alleviate the need to call the police in the first place. I’m looking forward in this next school year to see a continual decline in the need to call for police, which would impact the number of SRO’s that we have in the future as well.”

The La Crosse Police Department said in a statement regarding the SRO program continuing, quote:

“The La Crosse Police Department is looking forward to the continued partnership with the school district of La Crosse; collaborating, engaging, and building relationships with the students, staff, and families in the La Crosse community.” Five resource officers were working in the district before that number was taken down to three last year. The partnership with the police department will be re-evaluated next spring.