An armed police officer was sent to a 15-year-old Missouri‘s girl home to discuss how she was failing a class, sparking outrage against the school district for using ‘scare tactics’ and ‘unecessary escalation.’
Around 8.30am on Monday a school resource officer along with a counselor arrived without any prior notice to the home of Porscha Outen in St. Louis, to address how her daughter Paris, 15, was failing a class.
Paris, a student at Ritenour High School, is attending classes virtually for her sophomore year due to the pandemic.
‘It was unimaginable, I can’t even really describe how I felt in the moment,’ Outen said to KSDK.
‘I was shaking my voice was cracking, I was emotional because I did not understand. I couldn’t keep my eyes off his firearm,’ she added.
When Outen asked the officer why he was armed, the cop said: ‘It’s just a precaution. We are here because your daughter has an F in one class and we are letting all parents and students know that they have until Friday to complete any missing work.’
An armed school resource officer and counselor visited the home of Porscha Outen and her daughter Paris, 15, on Monday to discuss how Paris was failing a class. Porscha says the experience was traumatic because the officer came in without any prior notice and was armed
Paris, a student at Ritenour High School, is attending classes virtually for her sophomore year due to the pandemic. The schools says it sends out officers along with counselors part of a ‘wellness team’ to the homes of students who have been flagged for being chronically absent, academic issues or behavioral problems
‘Why is it necessary for you to have a gun to talk to my daughter about grades?’ Outen recalled asking the officer to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
‘A failing grade in a class is not an emergency to warrant police presence,’ she added.
The school district sends out school resource officers from the St. Ann, St. John and Breckenridge Hills police departments who serve on ‘wellness teams’ that include social workers and counselors.
They work in pairs to visit the homes of students who have been flagged for being chronically absent, academic issues or behavioral problems.
Since switching to virtual learning, the number of home increased dramatically to 1,500 since August.
Due to the pandemic and adjustments to virtual and hybrid learning, school districts across the country have reported the number of students failing classes has doubled or even triplied in some areas.
‘We have seen a decline in student performance, and we’re using this wellness team as a strategy to try to connect kids to school,’ Ritenour Superintendent Chris Kilbride said.
Outraged: Outen shared this post after the incident slamming the use of armed cops as ‘Unacceptable’
‘COVID is really hard. The kids are doing the best that they can, parents are doing the best that they can. Sending a resource officer with a weapon on his hip to a family’s home is not the best way to communicate how to be successful in the Ritenour School District,’ Outen said
What started out as an academic visit, turned into a traumatic situation for the Outen family.
When the officer left, Outen cried and hugged her daughter
‘Especially as an African American child in St. Louis County, my goal is to protect her from these sorts of threatening situations. I don’t want my daughter to equate education with fear, and unfortunately that’s what happened,’ Outen said.
Ritenour School District Superintendent Dr. Chris Kilbride acknowledged the house visit to the Outen residence was ‘traumatic’ and the school announced Tuesday it will no longer send officers on academic-related home visits
She said that not only was the experience terrifying, but it came amid a pandemic when communities are already on edge.
‘COVID is really hard. The kids are doing the best that they can, parents are doing the best that they can. Sending a resource officer with a weapon on his hip to a family’s home is not the best way to communicate how to be successful in the Ritenour School District,’ Outen said.
Parent Christine Troupe says she also got a police knock on her door on Tuesday for one of her children.
‘If the intention is to help our kids or hold them accountable then to me that’s not conducive to them learning. Basically it’s a scare tactic, it’s something you do for something you’re serving a warrant on, not for a child that may need a tutor for a ceramics art class,’ Troupe said.
Outen revealed after the incident she contacted the district and school to voice her outrage.
Kilbride said on the incident: ‘Clearly this was a traumatic experience. The question is how to do the investigation of what happened and how to do this differently moving forward.’
Outen and her daughter together above
On Tuesday Kilbride announced the district will no longer send officers on academic-related home visits.
John Bowman, the president of the NAACP St. Louis County, where Outen works in public relations, slammed the practice of sending police officers to students’ homes as an unnecessary escalation.
‘It appears in the black community, there’s an extra need to show intimidation or act as if you fear being in our presence. I am unwilling to accept the intimidation and over-policing of a child on a minor issue such as a grade,’ he added.
Outen, Bowman and other district officials will meet later in the week to discuss other changes to the program.
DailyMail.com has reached out to the school for further information.