Lexington, SC (Paul Kirby) – A number of agencies sent School Resource Officers (SROs) to Lexington Monday for specialized training on how to best do their jobs. They attended the class at the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department’s headquarters.
If you think being an SRO is a law enforcement position that’s for deputies or police officers who want it easy, you’d be 100% wrong! These valuable officers not only have to keep up with all the training required of every SC certified police officer, they must deal with 1,000s of children each day that may have needs they might not see on the streets. Still, these are very valid needs.
A district superintendent once described a modern school as a small city. There are food services that feed hundreds of customers each day. There’s a medical clinic staffed by a fully trained nurse. There are psychologists, town leaders like the principal and other administrators, and a cleaning and maintenance staff that closely mimics a Public Works department. There are even small business owners, the teachers, who must organize their businesses or in this case classes. They devise a plan to make them successful, oversee a group of employees, the students, and move them toward their goal. In the end, if they do all this successfully, the company or class will thrive.
The superintendent went on to explain that an SRO is like the police chief of that small town. They keep the school safe, listen to people’s problems and then try to resolve them. They also know their school; they know its residents, the students. If something looks out of place, a student is acting differently, or their police sense lets them know something is up, they are the first investigator on scene.
SROs teach children not to be afraid of the police. They help them understand that working with the police isn’t a bad thing, especially if something wrong is happening. SROs see and investigate neglect, physical, and even sexual abuse. They often find ways to help if a family just struggling through some hard times. They are a Jack of all trades, and a master of many. That’s why it’s so imperative they receive this special training.
During Monday’s session, officers learned about organizations and resources to help students, parents, teachers and administrators. By working with these agencies, SROs can get a student the help they need for their problem. Very valuable information for officers who are on the front line protecting these small “cities” every day.