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Possible armed officer at Sandburg Middle School remains in question

Updated: Mar 29

Pafoua Yang KSTP

Updated: August 14, 2023 - 6:48 PM

Published: August 14, 2023 - 5:23 PM

Sandburg Middle School armed officer vote postponed

As the new school year approaches, questions remain regarding whether a school resource officer will walk the halls of one Robbinsdale area middle school.

A city council vote was scheduled earlier this month but it’s been postponed as contract details are still being worked out.

Supporters tell us having an armed officer will increase public safety but others don’t think it’s necessary.

Last year, Evelyn Masong’s youngest child attended Sandburg Middle School when a teen was stabbed on campus and an incident of a gun was reported.

“It’s scary for our neighborhood to have you know kids being stabbed. I was shocked; I was very shocked,” said Masong.

Now the Robbinsdale School District is asking the city to bring back an armed school resource officer, a potential reversal of a decision two years ago, but there’s some pushback by the PEACE Commission, a police oversight group.

“We’re most concerned about… introducing a firearm into a educational system like Sandburg,” said Randy Anderson, a PEACE Commissioner.

In a letter to the Golden Valley City Council, the PEACE Commission stated its position to not move forward with an armed officer. The letter, in part, states, “In fact, new and relevant data demonstrates an armed officer on the scene was the number one factor associated with increased casualties in school shootings.” Anderson says research also backs up the negative impact armed officers have on historically marginalized groups.

“Sandburg is made up of 65 percent non-white population,” he said. “So we are really concerned about how people that don’t look like me might interact or react to an armed police officer.”

Golden Valley Police Chief Virgil Green disagrees with the argument.

“I just don’t think that’s a valid argument, especially when you’re talking about the safety of students,” said Chief Green.

He adds that in the case of an active shooter, a school should have a trained officer to eliminate the threat as soon as possible.

“So having that armed officer is very critical and very important to the safety of not just the officer, but the students and the staff at any school,” said Green.

As for Masong, she’s in support of getting an officer under the condition that the firearm is concealed.

“So that the kids would not be distracted or paranoid, you know, scared. They should conceal the weapon,” said Masong.

There is no timeline yet on when the city council will vote however, the Robbinsdale School District says there will be an update early next week. Chief Green says it’s “pretty confirmed” there will be an armed officer.

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