Image courtesy Redwood Area School District

(CLARIFICATION, Aug. 30) According to Redwood Falls Police Chief Jason Cotner, The Redwood Falls police officer who had been acting as the district’s SRO asked to step down citing concerns surrounding a new state law, but the district did not eliminate the position.

The Redwood Area School District is joining the Anoka and Morehead school districts as the latest public school district in Minnesota to withdraw its police officer from the schools over concerns about the state’s new law limiting how officers can respond to violent students.

Redwood Area Schools Superintendent Becky Cselovszki stated, “It is unfortunate that the legislative revisions on SRO positions in schools have created a discussion other than what is best for our students and staff. Despite this fact, the Redwood Area School District will continue to work with the city on creating a safe atmosphere in our schools.”

With the school year starting Sept. 5, the district has put together an interim plan to have what it calls a “child protection officer” from the police department in school buildings. If students escalate bad behavior to the point of violence, the district will call the police department.

According to KSTP TV, Redwood Falls Police Chief Jason Cotner said the way the city interprets the new Minnesota law, a school resource officer can’t restrain a student unless there is imminent bodily harm, and that such contact is not allowed in other situations. In that case, the police officer in the school would have a different use of force rule than officers out on patrol, creating confusing or contradictory policies.