SRO: An important job you can love
A School Resource Officer’s daily contacts are powerful — the SRO is not only a protector, but a role model for many kids
“If you want to get into law enforcement and make a difference in kids’ lives, being a School Resource Officer is the way to do it,” says Officer Avrie Schott of the La Crosse (Wisc.) Police Department. Schott is a ten-year police veteran. Five of those years have been spent as a School Resource Officer (SRO) at Lincoln Middle School in La Crosse, Wisconsin. She describes the school as a “little city,” where she walks the halls and makes many positive contacts in a day, while she attempts to get to know as many kids as possible.
Making a Difference
Opportunities to Be Proactive
“I have given presentations on inappropriate touching and ‘sexting’.” This, as we sadly now know, is the current practice of kids sending nude and semi-nude photos of themselves from cell phone to cell phone. Many kids do not know that when they send a nude picture of themselves over the internet that they can be charged with distributing child pornography,” explained Officer Schott.
Real Police Work
Instead of just writing a truancy ticket, she will often go to the home and find out why the child is truant. She has discovered that at times it has been because there have been problems directly related to the parents such as violence and abuse.
A School Resource Officer’s daily contacts are powerful — the SRO is not only a protector and provider of safety, but a role model for many kids who sometimes have no other positive role models in their lives.
One ethics instructor who does an exercise in his Academy Ethics Classes where he asks recruits to name role models in their life says, “In nearly every class I have done this exercise in, someone has named a School Resource Officer. Some of those recruits confided later that they had come from a violent home and the school resource officer had made the difference in their life.”
A Dangerous World
In September of 2006, a student became concerned and reported information to the Vice Principal and School Resource Officers at the Green Bay East High School. Three students were ultimately arrested and during search warrants police found their rifles, their sawed off shotgun, 20 “rudely constructed explosive devices,” gas masks and their plans written out in detail predicting a blood bath at the High School, which was thwarted.
The 2010 graduating senior class of Bridgewater-Rariton High School in New Jersey gave an appreciation award to their School Resource Officer Arthur Akins, who is a 16-year veteran of the Bridgewater Police Department. They felt some of their class may not have made it to graduation if Officer Akins would not have followed up on a text message, brought to his attention by a concerned student. He immediately located the student, who sent the message.
During an interview the student told him, “I want to commit a Columbine.” The student had purchased chains and locks for the school exits to increase the victim count in his planned attack. The student even admitted that a part of the plan was to cut Officer Akins’ throat. The student was taken into custody and has been sentenced to three years in the New Jersey School for Boys in Jamesburg.
Officer Schott explains that this is an example of what can happen when a School Resource Officer and educators “work as a team.”
Officer Schott says about the position of School Resource Officer, “It’s not for everyone,” but confirms that if the job suits you, “it is one job you can love!”
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