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 USD 250 Adds  New SRO for Elementary Schools;  Impacts All Leve - KOAM TV 7

USD 250 Adds  New SRO for Elementary Schools;  Impacts All Levels

Updated:
Pittsburg, KS -

Its a plan that started months ago when the Crawford County sheriff made an offer to the Pittsburg school district of an available school resource officer.

But now, as many worry about school shootings, the addition of a school resource officer to specifically serve elementary schools is looked at by at least one principal as something that brings a greater sense of security for staff, parents and students.

The  new school resource officer was added specifically for elementary schools in January.  But  that is having an impact district wide.


Students at  Westside elementary during lunch  greeted an SRO with fist pumps and smiles. Besides door safety checks, its someone theyll get to know on a more personal level. An asset according to the principal.
"He gets involved with kids who are struggling a little bit in  reading, he goes in the classroom and does  positive things. And just  adds that feeling of safety and  security to ensure everythings  ok," explained Principal Ann Lee.

An important and intended  outcome of the new SRO at the elementary level is that school resource officers  at the middle and high schools are there full time when once they used to share the duties of visiting elementary schools.

Senior Alexis Daniels thinks full time is a  good idea. She said,
To know that shes here just for us. And to know that we can count on her to always be here  and that we can start to make connections with her,  its important to have that trust."

 Deputy Jessica Franklin,  took over for  well-liked and now retired officer Dave Petrey at the high school.  Daniels said,  "If there was ever a tiff or a conflict  that happened between students, he was there to break it up or work things out or help escort people. He was always there to try to help."

 Sheriff Dan Peak said an officer
s car parked in the school lot can also be a deterrent.  But, he added,  personal relationships are a big key to respect and trust.

Sheriff Peak said, "Whether its someone bringing  information to that SRO  about another student  they have suspicions on, um, or the ability to reach out to one of those troubled students and hopefully mitigate  some of the potential there."


Deputy Franklin came from Kansas City, Kansas schools to a much smaller Pittsburg high. While Bill Tomasi will travel to all the Pittsburg elementary schools, so all kids know officers are there to help.

Principal Lee added,  "I  mean you'll see police officers not just at  school. You'll see them anywhere. We want them to know it
s ok to  go and talk with them if theyre needing something."

Daniels agrees, Its really important  for kids to have more connections other than just with administration."


     This year, the sheriff's office also placed an SRO at the new Interlocal school in McCune,  bringing the total number in the county to five full-time and one part-time SRO.

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