FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – As the school year inches closer, some Fayetteville parents are wanting to see more school resource officers, while others want alternatives to be explored first.

According to the Fayetteville City Council agenda, the council will be discussing adding a new school resource officer to the district this year at its next meeting. The district currently has 6 school resource officers, according to council documents.

Fayetteville parent Stephanie Kendall said she wants more school resource officers so her kids can have an extra layer of safety while at school.

“With COVID and being nervous about going to school, now they’re worried about someone shooting them and so the least we can do is protect them,” Kendall said.

While Beth Coger with the Arkansas Justice Reform Coalition said she and her organization would like to see more investment in things like mental health services.

“Have better trained and more counselors in our schools, use the money to hire social workers and school psychologists that would help connect children and their families to resources that were needed,” Coger said.

Kendall said schools need to have a combination of social workers and school resource officers.

“We need more counselors, we need more school resource officers,” Kendall said. “I don’t think they’re one in the same, I think we just need all of them.”

However, Coger said the focus should remain on alternatives to school resource officers.

“Types of approaches that are more likely to make schools safe, lots of well-trained counselors, social workers and teachers of alternative and restorative justice practice,” Coger said.

Most schools in Northwest Arkansas will start the week of Aug. 15.