Lexington County schools to receive funding to hire additional resource officers
Columbia, S.C. – Thursday, State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman announced the funding of 205 new school resource officers (SROs) that will be stationed in schools across the state that currently lack coverage. The funding for the new resource officers was appropriated by the South Carolina General Assembly for the 2019-2020 fiscal year. Four Lexington County Districts are on the list to receive officers.
"There is no issue more important than the safety and well-being of our students and teachers," said State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman. "School resource officers are a deterrent to violence within the school building and their training and response to crime is an invaluable asset that allows educators to focus on instruction. The funding of these 205 officers puts us within reach of meeting our goal for having an SRO in every school."
All 81 traditional public-school districts as well as the Erskine Charter Institute and S.C. Public Charter School District will be receiving funds to pay for one to four new officers depending on the district's need. The amount funded is based off the cost of the salary and benefits for a full time SRO provided by the district's local law enforcement agencies. The total funding awarded is $11,864,005.
In 2018, State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman, Governor Henry McMaster, S.C. Law Enforcement Chief Mark Keel, and the S.C. Department of Mental Health established a school safety vision that included having a school resource officer in every school as well as a mental health counselor in every school along with additional resources and training for students, educators, and communities. The General Assembly has also provided $2.2 million in additional funds to hire more mental health counselors.
Lexington County School District One is slated to receive four new officers while Districts Two, Three, and Four will each receive two more SROs.