Parents upset over armed officers at DPS games

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Dayton Public School (DPS) officials may be reconsidering a decision to place armed law enforcement at sporting events.

DPS says it’s a move to improve safety, but it also has frustrated some parents.

Some are outraged that armed officers will be standing post at high school basketball games.

Superintendent Lori Ward says she hears the concerns, but that she considered many options. After a recommendation from her and the district’s athletic officials, Dayon school board members gave the go ahead to implement the new policy.

Last season and again this season fights, disruptions, and arguments occured during Dayton’s high school games.

DPS’ athletic board of control and several principals brought a solution to improve security protocol, “to have law enforcement officers at high school games for this basketball season,” according to Ward.

Board members approved the idea last month.

Asked if other solutions were considered, the Superintendent answered, “For basketball games, the athletic board of control did think through a couple of things and they decided to go with the contract with the Sheriff’s Department and Dayton Police Department.”

Officers and deputies were already contracted to work with the district for special events, according to DPS. But that did not include every high school game.

Tuesday, Dayton’s Board of Education heard from frustrated parents, one shouting, “We elected you! We hire you, we fire you!”

The man was speaking at the podium when security was called.

“When our community comes, down you call the cops and you limit us from talking. We think this is clearly a racial issue,”said Zakiya Sankara-Jabar, director of Racial Justice Now!, an organization geared towards getting a better education for African-American students and those who are from low-income families. “Police officers unfortunately don’t use good judgment when it comes to African-American youth in particular.”

For Reverend Jerome McCory, he says school rivalries and fights will happen.

“There’s nothing new about it,” the long-time, local activist explained. “What’s new about it is now everybody wants to call the police as a first resort and not a last resort.”

Sankara-Jabar says a new solution is necessary now.

“Long-term, what we ask the district to do is to access and use other community resources that exist already in this community,” she said.

2 NEWS asked her if middle ground could be found between frustrated parents and officials.

“As long as it doesn’t include armed police, yes,” she firmly replied.

A special meeting will be called by the Dayton Board of Education to further discuss the new policy.

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