Some parents and city council members are pushing to restore Alexandria's school resource officer program after a student was arrested with a gun Wednesday at the high school.
It also follows the shooting of a student just down the street from the school a few weeks ago.
J.C. Herz got word of the gun incident at Alexandria City High School in a text from her daughter.
"She said, 'We’re on lockdown ... there is someone with a weapon and we hear sirens. I'm in a trailer ... I don’t think we can lock the door on this trailer'," Herz says her daughter told her.
A tip to police enabled officers to arrest the student before that student entered any buildings.
But that comes as little consolation to parents such as Herz, who have been pushing for elected leaders to get school resource officers back in the building. She points to numerous fights and the two gun incidents, including the shooting last month outside the McDonald's at the nearby Bradlee Center.
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"The way this is all going, there is going to be a shooting at Alexandria City High school," Herz said. "We can all see it and no one seems to be acting with sufficient urgency."
In a 4-to-3 vote, the city council defunded the school resource officer (SRO) program last spring. The money was reallocated to student mental health programs.
During a recent meeting, school board leaders begged council members to restore SROs.
"I am exceptionally, exceptionally concerned for the safety of our students, and that has to be said. We are waving the red flag that we need help," said council member Amy Jackson in September.
Jackson is asking the council to reconsider its decision and to take a new vote later this month to fund the SRO program once more.
"Can we put the SRO officers back instead of having the police called how many times a day, who don't have relationships with any of the kids," Jackson said.
But some community groups, such as Tenants and Workers United, stand firm in their opposition.
"All the research we have done is that in schools where we have SROs, it's not beneficial for the kids, especially students of color," said Evelin Urritia of Tenants and Workers United.
Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson, who voted to keep the SRO program, hopes there can be a compromise.
"If you asked me what I thought the best outcome would be, let's get the program back in place and then have conversations around potential reforms down the line," Wilson said.
The community conversation starts next Tuesday night. Wilson has invited school officials, the superintendent and the police chief to present to the council why they want to restore SROs.
Jackson is pressing for a vote to restore funding at an Oct. 26 meeting.