Multiple local law enforcement agencies in Minnesota are removing their school resource officers from schools because of a state law that limits the manner in which they are allowed to restrain students when needed.
The Blaine City Council voted unanimously Thursday to suspend the police department’s school resource officer partnerships with the Anoka-Hennepin, Centennial, and Spring Lake Park school districts following a request from Police Chief Brian Podany, reported KSTP-TV.
Multiple law enforcement agencies, both police departments and sheriff’s offices, have removed their officers from schools. Some of those agencies are:
- Plymouth Police Department
- Alexandria Police Department
- Faribault Police Department
- Redwood Falls Police Department
- Moorhead Police Department
- Anoka County Sheriff’s Office
- Hennepin County sheriff’s Office
- Coon Rapids Police Department
The state law prohibits officers or school officials restraining a student in a face-down position or any sort of hold that “restricts or impairs a pupil’s ability to breathe; restricts or impairs a pupil’s ability to communicate distress; places pressure or weight on a pupil’s head, throat, neck, chest, lungs, sternum, diaphragm, back, or abdomen; or results in straddling a pupil’s torso.”
However, the state attorney general has clarified that reasonable use of force is allowed to prevent imminent bodily harm or death to the student or anyone else.
Police groups said the law prevents school resource officers from intervening in cases where students destroy property or pose a physical threat, reported MPR News They’re pressing state leaders to return to the capitol to resolve questions around the policy and how it should be rolled out.
“There's a lot of confusion. And law enforcement, they're scared. They're scared about the application of this law,” said Imran Ali, Minnesota Police and Peace Officer Association general counsel. “I can't imagine a law enforcement officer in this day and age, a school resource officer, having to navigate through all these different legal opinions when it just should be clear.”