The push to pull cops from the nation’s schools will shift from the Twin Cities to the suburbs Tuesday when the Hopkins school board considers ending that district’s contract with Minnetonka police.

A group of current and former Hopkins High students presented the recommendation in late August to a board receptive to change in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Money should go, instead, to student mental health supports and efforts to build a positive school climate, the students said. It was an argument heard in Minneapolis and St. Paul, too, when those districts decided in June to stop deploying school resource officers, or SROs, and find new ways to keep students and staff safe.

That early work has come with some hiccups.

Hopkins’ recommendation to remove the high school’s resource officer reflects a summer’s worth of effort by four students — Muna Musse, Aryam Gomez, Elliot Berman and George Jackson — appointed by Superintendent Rhoda Mhiripiri-Reed to review the district’s $113,142 SRO contract.

The students polled peers and found nearly 42% of high school respondents feeling unsafe or somewhat unsafe when it came to having an officer at school, compared with 33% who felt very or somewhat safe. The students also gathered data on suspensions and police referrals and interviewed board members and Minnetonka’s police chief.

During the Aug. 21 presentation, Jackson spoke of being Black and hyper-aware of his surroundings and actions because of the racism he experienced at an early age.

“Ever since the third grade, I felt like a walking target because of the color of my skin,” he told the board. As people who look like him are killed by police, he said, the SRO is a daily reminder: “I am a target.”

Berman also read a pair of student testimonials in support of having a resource officer. One warned how a minor crisis can become a full-blown emergency in a matter of seconds, and police are needed to calm such situations.

A petition begun by the group “Cops­OutHHS” advocating for the removal of police from the Hopkins district had gathered 908 signatures as of 8:30 p.m. Sunday.

Board Chairwoman Jen Bouchard declined to predict the outcome of Tuesday’s vote.

She noted, however, that the SRO conversation aligned with the board’s “anti-racist resolution,” which it passed a week after Floyd’s death. In it, the board empowered students to speak out about their experiences with racism and pledged to “continue to dismantle systemic racism in our education system through policy and practice,” Bouchard said.

That same night, Minneapolis Public Schools ended its decadeslong relationship with city police. The district then set out to hire 11 “public safety support specialists.”

But the job description drew criticism for mentioning a desire for a law enforcement background. The district, in turn, posted on Facebook that it used an existing description while rushing to meet a mid-August deadline. The key qualification for the job, the district said, was the ability to connect with students so they do not feel that the support specialist is just another adult there to control them.

This month, St. Paul Public Schools Superintendent Joe Gothard and other leaders acknowledged the disappointment of principals who had opposed getting rid of the district’s seven resource officers.

Board Member John Brodrick added the district should be clear with staff members about what they can and cannot do in dangerous situations. They ought to know, he said, that if they were to step in to prevent serious injuries, they would not be second-guessed for their actions.

St. Paul now is moving ahead with plans outlined last winter to hire 12 “school support liaisons” and to train them in relationship-building and nonviolent crisis intervention techniques, among other skills, so they can be ready to go by the start of the second semester.