HAYWARD — School officials said this week that despite what was said at a board meeting last month, they have no desire to end a 30-year relationship with the city's Police Department, which provides officers as campus security.
A conflict between the city and Hayward Unified School District began late last year, when the district suggested changes to the agreement related to school resource officers on high school and junior high campuses.
"(Most of) the changes were "... completely unacceptable, and in most cases unnecessary," Police Chief Ron Ace told the City Council at its Tuesday meeting.
Ace said those changes would give the district authority to replace officers it sees as not a good fit for schools, give each principal final authority over whether a person can be on campus, and oblige school resource officers to enforce a ban on Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials on campus, among other things.
The police chief said he met with district officials and board members who confirmed the revisions stemmed from an April 2009 incident at Tennyson High.
School officers had stopped a man who was grabbing and pulling a crying girl on campus. The man — who turned out to be the girl's father — was found to have a felony immigration warrant for his arrest. The girl ran at the arresting officer, and also was taken into custody on misdemeanor charges. High school staff restrained her boyfriend, who intervened.
He and the girl's father were turned over to immigration officials.
"Allegations that the arrests were capricious and biased are simply untrue," Ace said. "Had (the SRO) done less, it would have been negligent. Any blame would be on the individual with the warrant."
Ace stressed to the council that school officers never initiate a check of anyone on campus solely on suspicion of immigration status, and that if the man did not have a felony warrant, he likely would have been allowed to leave with his daughter.
He said the changes to the agreement are unacceptable because they not only undermine his authority, but also that of officers patrolling the schools. It also potentially would put police in conflict with federal officials.
Council members unanimously agreed.
"You can't have a 'Mother may I?' approach and expect officers to do their jobs," said Councilman Bill Quirk. "Accepting those terms would be the end of the program."
Ace said a Dec. 2 meeting with trustees did not resolve the issue. Then, at the board's Dec. 9 meeting, trustees directed staff to look at alternatives to using Hayward police officers on campus, in case an agreement could not be reached.
However, Ace has since met with interim Superintendent Janis Duran, who started the job this week. The dialogue has been constructive, Ace said.
Duran said she aims to continue the partnership with police.
"It is my intention that we can come to some agreement," she said. "It is a common interest, that we need safety in our schools and SROs have always been very successful. The intention is to come up with something that everyone feels comfortable with."
Duran said the matter will go before the board at its Jan. 27 meeting.
City officials had pledged their support for police at the council meeting.
"When you have the worst test scores in the county, argue that it's OK to have felons on campus, and want to get rid of the SRO program, that's three strikes and you are out," Mayor Mike Sweeney said.
Eric Kurhi covers Hayward. Contact him at 510-293-2473.