Securing a School Resource Officer for Westerly Middle School
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Westerly Middle School has been without a School Resource Officer on School Grounds for over a year. Last year- unfortunately, the assigned SRO was injured. With no tentative date of return, our School has been left without full time Police Presence and Protection.
Westerly Middle School is Located directly off of the Major North-South State Highway, RI (US 1). The only things standing between our Middle School Students, Administrators and faculty; and the outside world are two sets of glass doors and an intercom system. While our Public School System and it’s administration has safety measures and security protocols set in place, it is still very important to have a trained and skilled officer present in the school everyday during school hours.
Children are molded in middle school years. Having a law enforcement presence is not only great security wise but instrumental in so many ways for students at this age. Even more so, than at the High School level. There is a disconnect here. We need to assign a SRO to our Middle School as our surrounding communities have one assigned to each Junior and Senior High School.
“School resource officers (SROs) are sworn law enforcement officers who are responsible for providing security and crime prevention services in schools in parts of the United States. An SRO has many roles in the school as well as the community, and also has many duties and responsibilities. They are trained to be a law enforcement officer, law-related counselor, and law-related educator”. Tens of thousands of SRO’s patrol America’s schools every day.
They are law enforcers. They are mediators. They are educators. But most of all, they are protectors.
“43% of all U.S. public schools - including 63% of middle and 64% of high schools - had SRO’s on their grounds during the 2013-2014 school year. SRO’s, supervise lunchrooms, coach sports, promote drug and alcohol awareness. They can also identify abusive and delinquent behavior and can prevent a number of negative situations from taking place. An SRO is vital to our children’s safety and not having one on School Grounds is a detriment to our children in more ways than one. SROs not only enforce laws at school, but they also act as problem-solvers and liaisons”.
“NASRO considers it a best practice to use a “triad concept” to define the three main roles of school resource officers: educator, informal counselor/mentor, and law enforcement officer. Most importantly, School Resource officers are tasked with keeping the staff and the student safe”.
So, why hasn’t there been a School Resource Officer assigned to Westerly Middle School in over a year? It is not a funding issue, as the Westerly School Budget currently is set at just under 59 million US dollars. Also, while there is no SRO present, the funds for an SRO have even been allocated. It is past time we have an officer present on school grounds Monday through Friday for students and for faculty as well.
“SRO programs across the nation are founded as collaborative efforts by police agencies, law enforcement officers, educators, students, parents, and communities. The goal of NASRO and SRO programs is to provide safe learning environments in our nation’s schools, provide valuable resources to school staff, foster a positive relationships with our nation’s youth, and develop strategies to resolve problems affecting our youth with the objective of protecting every child so they can reach their fullest potential”.
If you are in support of this effort, and you would like to see a School Resource Officer assigned to Westerly Middle School, Please sign this petition today! Share with your friends, and your community! Your children’s safety and well being depends on your signature. I do hope to get as many signatures on this petition as possible then bring it to The School Commitee in a timely fashion.
Thank you in advance to all who participate-
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