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Worthington parents take school system to court after school resource officer removal

FILE - Worthington Schools sign. (WSYX)
FILE - Worthington Schools sign. (WSYX)
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Six months after a central Ohio school district decided to remove its school resource officers, parents in Worthington started fighting back.

This week, attorneys for parents with One Worthington told ABC 6/FOX 28 On Your Side,” It is not a race issue. This is a safety issue.”

Those attorneys filed a public records based complaint against the district in a branch of the Ohio Supreme Court last week to have some of the disputes go into mediation.

“I don’t know how we can be an anti-racist school district and have SROs,” said former Worthington School Board President Nikki Hudson during a board of education meeting last summer. It was in the middle of social justice rallies seen across the country last year after the death of George Floyd.

“Students of color who I have heard from feel very uncomfortable with an armed white police officer in their high school,” said Worthington School Board Member Charlie Wilson last July.

Board members discussed the messages they received from current and past students about school resource officers before voting to end the SRO program at the two district high schools.

Hudson gave the example of one message to say, “Every time I walk into the school, he stands in front of me and makes me say hi. He stands in front of me and makes me say hi to him. That makes me feel very uncomfortable as a female.”

The group One Worthington asked to see the specific messages for themselves. They hired an attorney after requesting copies of the referenced correspondence from the board of education after that July meeting.

An attorney filed a complaint that reinstated the request initially made to the district last year.

After the complaint was filed last week, Worthington Local Schools told ABC 6/FOX 28 On Your Side Monday that it expedited the public information request made by One Worthington last November and handed over all emails and text messages.

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One Worthington said it wants to use the data to reinstate school resource officers within the district.

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