September 22, 2020
Dear WPS Community,
Waterbury Public Schools and the Waterbury Police Department are delighted to announce the creation of Waterbury Voices, a diverse and collaborative group of 25 stakeholders. The purpose of this roundtable is to engage diverse perspectives in a crucial conversation and to advise both the District and the police department so that we can positively impact students’ mental, emotional and social wellbeing.
The roundtable discussions will be facilitated by the Connecticut Center for School Change and serve as an advisory as we seek to produce results and be accountable. Our hope is to foster stronger communication across institutions and with the community by soliciting broad feedback to clarify and define the optimal roles of School Resource Officers in the school community, create a feedback loop that contributes to the SROs’ role in schools and create conditions for SROs to be successful and contribute to positive outcomes for students.
The roundtable will begin meeting regularly at the end of September. Members will discuss racial equity in schools, continued professional learning opportunities for staff, arrest data and protocols as well as the national climate. The roundtable will offer a space for its members to speak candidly about personal experiences and concerns and issues regarding school safety and SROs. Among the issues that will be discussed are:
- Students, staff and faculty safety in schools
- Discipline and root cases of arrests in schools
- Role of staff as SROs are deployed
- Arrest protocols and arrest rate
- Race, racism, systemic racism and the ongoing work in Waterbury and Waterbury Public Schools
The outcome of the discussions will be shared with the community-at-large. While these are crucial conversations, they can be challenging and are essential to affect meaningful and necessary change. We look forward to engaging in this important work together and ensuring our students’ needs are met.
Verna D. Ruffin
Fernando C. Spagnolo
Chief of Police