Phoenix Union will no longer will have school resource officers, takes new direction for campus safety

The Phoenix Union High School District (PUHSD) is deciding how to spend more than a million dollars of its budget that would have gone to school resource officers.

This summer, the district chose not to renew its contract with Phoenix Police, creating the now available fund.

"This process today is going to allow us to strengthen what we call our safety systems on our campuses," said Dr. Chad Gestson, PUHSD superintendent, in a Sept. 22 meeting.

School officials say it’s their opportunity to reimagine what school safety can be without resource officers.

“For many years people believed that school safety was just physical safety. What we know today is that safety and health and wellness on a campus is social and psychological safety," Gestson said.

Students, parents and school staff will have a say in the participatory budget for the district. A panel during Tuesday’s town Hall covered a variety of topics including an emphasis on mental health and how that could impact the need for security.