By Dedra Cordle
A local law enforcement agency will continue to provide security services for the South-Western City Schools District.
At its meeting on Sept. 27, the district’s board of education unanimously approved a new agreement with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office to provide security services at Franklin Heights and Westland High Schools.
Under the terms of the agreement, the district will pay the department approximately $235,000 for the use of two deputies (or one at each school) for the remainder of the 2021-22 school year.
Superintendent Dr. Bill Wise said the importance of having resource officers at the schools cannot be understated.
“Those officers are, and have been, an integral part of our schools,” he said after the meeting. “They provide answers to students and they provide support to our staff as well as our students.”
He said all of the resource officers have undertaken extensive educational training through the state’s school resource officers association to which the students and staff benefit immensely through the sharing of that knowledge.
“The resource officers develop relationships with these students (through this training) and they help link the community, the schools and the students together.”
Tim Donahue, the principal of Franklin Heights, shared a similar sentiment, stating that resource officers often go beyond their duties to provide assistance within the school and throughout the community.
“Our school resource officer, Deputy Dan Fahy, has done a tremendous job developing relationships and building trust with all facets of our school community,” he wrote in a statement. “Students, parents, and staff all feel very comfortable reaching out to Deputy Fahy and asking for his support and guidance.
“Deputy Fahy is a true part of the Falcon Family and is often found volunteering his time working with our Special Olympics events, attending school plays, or teaching a student how to change their tire.”
In addition to providing protection of the building premises, the resource officers are required to investigate and document unruly, delinquent and criminal acts within the school and neighborhood; participate in classroom and school assemblies; serve as a liaison with neighborhood businesses and residents in school related problems; and provide early detection of deviant behaviors in students.
The district’s agreement with the county sheriff’s office is done on an annual basis. The district also has an agreement with the Grove City Division of Police to provide security services at Central Crossing and Grove City High Schools.