The police officer that comes to your school to discuss gun safety or drug abuse. That same officer greets you every morning. This officer is a school resource officer. They have many roles that they play within a school or district.
Importance of a School Resource Officer
Developing a relationship between the law and students is important. School resource officers are there to foster this relationship and trust.
Foster a Safe Environment
While you might think they are just a security guard, a school resource officer is a sworn police officer that works with the school and school district to foster learning environments that make students feel safe. Given the tumultuous state of schools with shooters and violence, this is an invaluable position.
Educational and Leadership Responsibilities
Through mentoring and lectures, resource officers also work to help kids develop strategies for solving problems with other teens or protecting themselves outside of the classroom. These professionals can be a mentor, lecturer or officer depending on what the situation calls for.
Changing Roles of an Officer
As an elementary student, you might have seen your officer as a person that taught you about stranger danger, crime or took the time to introduce you to what his different gear does. However, in high school, a resource officer takes on a different role. At the secondary level, resource officers are trying to keep you on the straight and narrow. They might check your bags or lockers, and they might even come to your classroom or lecture hall to talk about drunk driving statistics. Maybe they will tell you about a case they experienced with drug abuse. Their job is to reduce crime and keep you informed through various roles.
As a mentor, these officers provide the first line of defense for teens. Not only will they break up fights and search personal property, but they will talk to you about how you are breaking the law and what can happen. They will work to help teens to find a better path or programs that can keep them away from destructive behavior. School officers might also work with kids on law enforcement education through discussing why behaviors like drugs, alcohol, fighting, bullying, etc. can hinder their growth and what future that behavior might lead to.
Much like a mentor, but without the one-on-one interaction, resource officers can provide law enforcement education through an assembly. Not only will they discuss drinking and driving, drug abuse, violence and breaking the law, but they'll offer guidance through their lectures. They might also discuss safety development plans and goals to make students feel safer at school.
Resource offers might also offer programs at the districts that they work at. For example, they could offer mediation tactics or classes. They might facilitate programs that re-enact drunk driving consequences around prom time to warn about the dangers of teen drinking. These officers might also facilitate programs for teen drug abuse in areas where this might be high.
Officers Going Above and Beyond
School resource officers are an important element to a teen's safety at school. These sworn officers make sure that students feel safe by patrolling the grounds, supervising metal detectors and doing searches and seizures, if necessary. They also help create action plans in the case of a shooter or criminal entering the school. Not only that but according to a research report in 2018, their efforts are making a difference through 75% of students feeling safer.
Officers Are Not Security Guards
You might think that a resource officer is just an armed security guard, but they aren't. School resource officers are police officers. Not only do they have crisis training, but they have completed police academy. They are the same sworn officers that might pull you over or respond to a 911 call. Many have received training through the National Association of School Resource Officers.
Protecting Schools and Students
With the state of the nation, it makes sense that teens might be scared to go to school. School shootings are something that don't just happens in large cities but all over the U.S. School resource officers can help your school to feel safer and more secure. They also mentor kids to make sure they stay on the right path.