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PHOTO RELEASE: Rep. Robbins, House and Senate Republicans Call for SRO Action

Thursday, October 12, 2023

SAINT PAUL – Rep. Kristin Robbins (R-Maple Grove) joined House and Senate Republicans this week in calling on Democrats to take action to resolve the Student Resource Officer (SRO) issue immediately. Republicans held a listening session Wednesday on SROs after Democrats ignored requests for an informational hearing to develop a bipartisan fix.

Legislators heard from school administrators, staff and law enforcement, including Maple Grove Police Chief Eric Werner and Sergeant Andrew Sandberg. Sergeant Sandberg oversees the Maple Grove SROs. Participants urged the Legislature to hold a special session to fix the statute and get SROs back in schools now, rather than waiting until the new legislative session begins in February. 

“This issue is not resolved until all SROs are back in schools,” said Robbins. “Republicans have been calling on Democrats for months to act on this issue, but our calls for a bipartisan solution have fallen on deaf ears. SROs play a critical role in building relationships with students and creating a safe learning environment for them and their teachers. It is time for Democrats to stop putting politics above school safety and join Republicans to fix this once and for all.”

SROs have worked successfully in Minnesota school districts for 30 years and student surveys show that students value having them in schools. There is currently a student-led petition drive at Osseo High School to bring the SROs back, which already has 270 signatures.

Democrats have been avoiding a legislative fix, hoping the revised opinion on the law from Attorney General Keith Ellison would be sufficient. However, Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty released a contradicting interpretation of the law, suggesting that school resource officers could still be charged criminally, proving that a legislative fix is the only way forward. Due to the ongoing confusion this issue has created, a number of law enforcement agencies will not be returning school resource officers to schools.

“This issue is not resolved because there have been so many conflicting opinions issued,” said Robbins. “Rather than providing clarity and certainly, multiple and contradictory opinions from the Attorney General, the League of Minnesota Cities and the Hennepin County Attorney have only muddied the waters. It is clear that only a legislative solution can provide the clarity that is needed in statute.”

“In my district, students and staff at Rockford Area Schools, Wayzata Public Schools, and Osseo-Maple Grove Schools no longer have student resource officers. I am grateful to Maple Grove Police Chief Eric Werner and Sergeant Sandberg for sharing their expertise at the informational hearing. All participants urged the legislature to act swiftly to resolve this issue so we can ensure students and staff have a safe school year.”

The House and Senate Republican SRO listening session can be viewed in full here.

Robbins with Limmer, Sandberg, and Werner

From L to R: Sergeant Andrew Sandberg, Rep. Kristin Robbins, Sen. Warren Limmer, and Maple Grove Police Chief Eric Werner following the conclusion of the listening session.