This is not really a blog post on its own, but rather background information for I’m not a Jedi Knight.
One of cuts presented at the meeting was of a Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputy School Resource Officer—one of two in our district. The two officers provide safety services and educational programs to the more than 5,000 kids in the system throughout five buildings. With only one officer in place, safety services will be diminished and the educational programming will be eliminated.
Many people had shown up at the board meeting pleading with the board not to cut the position. The deputy slated to be cut is a well-known and well-loved member of the community. At least one of the speakers broke down in tears while relaying why this position was so crucial to our children’s education and safety.
Clearly, for most of the speakers, it was personal. They knew him, liked him, wanted him to be in the schools protecting and educating their children.
I listened. I decided to speak. I basically stated that the safety of my children was more important than their education. I said that I didn’t know him. But my kids do. They know both of the deputies. Not because they’re bad kids who get in trouble, but because these deputies entered their lives when they started kindergarten. They teach every kid, in every building.
Stranger Danger, DARE, Gun Safety Awareness, Bicycle Safety, Dangers of Texting and Driving, Cyber-Bullying…the list goes on. So as the years go by, the kids feel comfortable with the deputies. They respect them. They trust them. And the deputies know the kids. They know the good ones who make a bad choice on occasion. They know the bad ones that need to be watched closely.
If the position is cut, the programs go away. One officer won’t have time to do it all. He will become reactive instead of proactive. The trust and respect that is built over time, throughout the elementary years will be lost. The intervention that takes place when those good kids make bad choices early on will cease.
So if you haven’t read, or finished reading I’m not a Jedi Knight, go do that now.