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Millenials Offer Unique Challenges for School Resource Officers - KOAM TV 7

Millennials Offer Unique Challenges for School Resource Officers

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SOUTHWEST, MISSOURI -

Following the recent suicide of a young girl in the Neosho School District, some Southwest Missouri School Resource Officers(SRO) gathered in Monett to discuss strategies for assisting the students they're around on a daily basis.

Monett SRO, Jay Jastal, says school resource officers are not disciplinarians. "We're not in the schools to dish out punishment," Jastal said. "Sometimes we're part time counselor, we're friends, we're part of the community. But mostly were there for the safety and security of the kids. "

Which can require tools more nuanced than handcuffs and a gun.

"Everything comes down to communications," Jastal said. "Communicating with our kids, communicating with our parents."

Jastal invited Southwest Missouri SROs to the Monett Police Department to discuss techniques, while outlining issues facing students. Specifically bullying, drugs, child pornography, and suicide. Much of which Granby chief of police Jacob Kelley says can be connected. 

"And by getting with these guys it really helps me figure out where I need to go," Kelley said.

The school resource officers we talked to said they didn't believe today's students had a different set of issues their parents had. It's that students have a whole different set of circumstances their parents never dealt with. And now officers need to catch up with today's generation.

"We're finding that social media is becoming the new battleground for bullying," Kelley said. "And [students] just hammer each other on cellphones and through Facebook constantly. And we're going to have to adapt to meet those challenges."

"We see a lot of the internet-type crimes and kids abusing the internet and not really using it responsibly," Jastal said. "We just want to do whatever we can to prevent that. So if we can help these kids and identify it before something bad happens that's what our goal is."

The officers committed to begin meeting independently of, and more than, the statewide SRO meetings.

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