Serving Together: A Phenomenological Study Of The School Resource Officer And Principal Partnership

Eric Nelson


Nelson, E. (2023). Serving Together: A Phenomenological Study of the School Resource Officer and Principal Partnership The increased presence of school resource officers (SROs) in schools places them in direct contact with school principals. This study examined how SROs and principals in six Minnesota public secondary schools describe their partnership. Data was collected using a series of semi-structured interviews between pairs of partners representing rural, suburban, and urban school districts. Participants identified challenges related to a lack of partnership vision, role clarity, and critical preparation and training prior to partnering. Participants reported that their partnership increased the sense of safety in school, provided needed resources, and increased positive connection between law enforcement and students. These findings suggest that SRO and principal partnerships benefit from clarifying roles, engaging SROs in non-law enforcement functions while in schools, including principals in SRO selection, separating SROs from school policy enforcement, engaging in mutual professional development, and utilizing meaningful program evaluations.