Letter: Resource officers valuable
It was around the time of Columbine that police officers began to be placed in our schools through the federally subsidized SRO (Student Resource Officer) program. Going back in time through my career as a educator, I had the pleasure of working with many different SROs over the years.
From my perspective, the SRO program has benefits to both police and young people. Cops assigned to work in schools get to know young people, providing them with a firsthand perspective of what is normal, “goofy” kid behavior and what is “escalating” or violent behavior. How many bad situations have been diffused by having good competent educators working with law enforcement?
How many drunken driving accidents may have been prevented by having a cop on duty at a big school dance? The “mock DUI accident” provides students with a graphic representation. Witnessing first responders using saws and pry bars to extricate an individual from a mangled piece of metal and plastic can certainly change your perspective.
Students in schools with an assigned SRO learn by exposure that police officers are just people who have a job to do helping protect us. How deeply this exposure resonates and carries on with them as they move through life is an untold benefit.
At the end of one day, I remember leaving my classroom and as I closed the door behind me. I saw a group students sitting on the floor in the hallway talking peacefully with our SRO. Perhaps this was just a good day to be thankful.
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