By Dedra Cordle
Law enforcement officials will continue to be a presence at two local high schools.
At the Oct. 7 meeting, the South-Western City Schools board of education approved a new agreement with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office to provide resource officers at Franklin Heights and Westland High Schools.
Under the terms of the agreement, the district will pay the department approximately $246,000 for the use of two deputies (or one at each school) for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.
Tim Donahue, the principal at Franklin Heights, said that the school resource officers are an invaluable fixture at the district schools.
“Our school resource officer is an important partner in helping to keep our students and staff safe in the building,” he said in a written statement. “Our students and staff members know that safety is a priority at school because of this strong partnership.”
While deputies assigned to the schools are required to be on the premises during official school hours, many often go beyond their duties by attending extracurricular activities.
“Our SRO serves as a mentor to our students, volunteering his time outside the school day to get to know our students better,” said Donahue. “He attends athletic events, works with our Special Olympics program and other activities. He goes above and beyond to help our students.”
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 Franklin County Sheriff’s Office is done annually. 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.