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The debate about revising the school resource officer (SRO) law passed last year has become complicated, political but not practical.

The law was tweaked last year to restrict the times school resource officers can use prone holds that restrict breathing or speaking. The law allowed use of the hold only if those students present an imminent threat of injury or death. The law provided penalties against officers for violations, and several jurisdictions ended contracts for SROs with schools fearing increased legal liability under the law.

Also, last year, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison issued an advisory opinion saying the new law did not change current legal interpretation of in what circumstances officers could restrain students. Some SROs then returned to schools, but both Democrats and Republicans suggested the Legislature this year could tweak the law to satisfy concerns.

That's not been easy.

Opponents of changing the law again say last year's tweak protects students and particularly students of color, where research shows they endure a disproportionate share of discipline in schools. The proponents of the restrictions want the law to specify cases in which the holds can be used, while police groups and others would like to see officers given more flexibility.

Khulia Pringle, a parent who helped pass the tighter student restraint laws last year, in a report on Minnesota Public Radio, sees this year's debate as "the powers that be want the community to understand that somehow resource officers cannot do their jobs without being able to use tactics that restrict the airways of children."

The debate lacks solid information on the impact of either approach. While the Minnesota Department of Education did research showing there were 10,000 physical holds of students in 2021-2022, the report did not have information on how many of those were prone holds or restricted breathing.

At the same time, 28% of Minnesota schools worked with SROs, according to survey by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, but again, the number of officers leaving schools because of the law remains a mystery. And finally, there is no evidence the law has been used against an SRO or agency in any kind of a legal suit. So there is no good evidence on the scope of the problem on either side that would call for drastic change.

The key will be to come to a reasonable compromise. It seems legal language could be tweaked with the help of the attorney general's office to satisfy police agencies and cities in their liability concerns. Police officers say there are already laws on the books that restrict use of the holds.

Part of the proposed legislation would allow schools to develop their own restraint policies for SROs with the assistance of a model policy approved by the Peace Officer Standards and Training Board. The plan also calls for SROs to get more training in the use of restraint in different situations.

Both seem like reasonable proposals.

We've long supported the community building that comes with an SRO presence in schools, but support the right of other schools, according to their needs, to not have SROs.

Let's have a solution that embraces the practical and overrides the political elements and the legal complexity.