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Des Moines mom pushes for return of resource officers on campuses at Des Moines Public Schools

Des Moines Public Schools removed SROs from its campuses in 2020, but the mom of two East High teens is collecting signatures to get them back.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Maria Uribe recalls the day three teens were shot outside of East High School in Des Moines.

"I hugged them, and I said, 'I'm so happy that you guys didn't go to school today,'" said Uribe, who has two teens that attend East High. "I was really really worried about everyone else."

That worry for her kids and their classmates turned into action.

"I started the petition for security in schools, police security in schools," she said.

Uribe is talking about school resource officers DMPS removed from its campuses back in 2020.  Between signatures on paper and the one her friend helped her gather online, Uribe says she collected nearly 1,700 signatures supporting the idea.

"I think we don't have to wait to happen something inside the school to do something," she said. "But I think it is really important to have police security schools inside."

Urbie showed Local 5 the emails she sent to DMPS about the signatures. District leaders, however, she said they haven't seen them, even the topic of SROs did not come up.

"It typically comes up when there's an extremely traumatic and violent event, such as the shooting on the front lawn of East High School's campus, the shooting this past weekend at a residence," said Matt Smith, associate superintendent of DMPS.

Since the shooting near East High, the district has been looking for feedback by hosting community meetings — one on May 11 and another on May 12.

"They're well attended (by) families and from students and staff. We are hearing from a number of our community members, and particularly from our parents, which we're excited about, and parents that are representative of various cultures, races, ethnicities, and so that's exciting to see and to hear," Smith said.

Uribe has been going to those meetings and encouraging fellow parents to do the same.

"I think if we really want things to change in public schools, we need to be there. We need to say what we need to change," she said.

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