Education · Fresno

In wake of school attacks, Fresno school districts seek to beef up campus security

In the wake of a set of devastating school shootings, including one in Uvalde, Tex., three Fresno area school districts are set to welcome police officers to campus. 

Come Thursday, the Fresno City Council is scheduled to approve student resource officers for Central Unified School District, Fresno Unified School District, and Sanger Unified School District. 

Central Unified currently has three student resource officers assigned to its high schools. 

The district had police officers present at its middle schools from May 2016 through April 2020, but their contracts were not renewed due to grant funding expiring and the COVID-19 pandemic shuttering of schools. 

As indicated by staff documents, Central Unified desires to return the officers to its middle school campuses. 

The district will reimburse the Fresno Police Department for 95 percent of their salaries, totaling $155,830 each. 

Fresno Unified currently has 11 student resource officers assigned to its high schools. 

Like Central Unified, Fresno Unified had officers assigned to its middle schools from 2016-2020. 

Unlike the other districts, Fresno Unified took the affirmative step by voting to remove police officers from middle schools in October 2020 amid a Defund the Police drumbeat in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Last year, Fresno Unified flipped its position, with all trustees but Veva Islas voting in favor of restoring middle school service.

The issue? The department didn’t was warning districts it had insufficient staffing to cover the restored assignments out-of-the-gate.

Once approved, 15 police officers will return to Fresno Unified middle schools over the next 12 to 18 months. 

Per the deal, Fresno Unified will cover 90 percent of the assigned sergeant’s salary and 95 percent of five of the officers’ salaries, coming in at $952,611 in total. 

Sanger Unified’s new high school sits in Fresno city limits near the intersection of S. Fowler Ave. and E. Jensen Ave. 

The district is seeking to have one Fresno Police Officer and on sergeant placed on campus at the new school. 

Sanger Unified will pay $9,637 to cover five percent of the sergeant’s salary and $155,830 to cover 95 percent of the officer’s salary.

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.