“An ounce of prevention…”
We have all heard the adage, “An ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure.” The Village of Annawan and the Annawan School District are working in conjunction through an intergovernmental agreement to provide a School Resource Officer (SRO) in the Annawan Schools. On Wednesday, January 18th, based on my recommendation as superintendent, the board voted to proceed (in conjunction with the Village) to begin the process of posting for an SRO position, interviewing, and eventually hiring. The goal will be to have an SRO in place for the start of the 2023-24 school year.
There are several legitimate questions people may have. Let me try to answer some of those questions by explaining how both the Village and school district envision the role of an SRO in the Annawan schools. Typical job duties of an SRO include the following:
1. to prevent, reduce and confront school-related violence and crime committed by juveniles, young adults, and non-school persons on school premises;
2. to create and maintain a safe, secure and orderly learning environment for students, teachers and staff;
3. to establish a trusting channel of communication with students, parents and staff;
4. to serve as a positive role model;
5. to instill in the students good moral standards, good judgment, respect for others and a sincere concern for the school community;
6. to promote citizen awareness of the law so as to enable students to be better informed and effective citizens;
7. to empower students with knowledge regarding law enforcement efforts and obligations and the consequences for violation of the law;
As a community member, you may still be wondering what an SRO’s day may look like. An SRO is a specially trained officer who has taken classes on working in a school district and with children. The SRO is an active duty police officer. This officer will be assigned to the school on a daily basis for his/her 8-hour shift. The officer will almost always be dressed in a “soft uniform” consisting of black or khaki pants and polo shirt identifying them as a member of the Village police force. The SRO will check entrances and doors daily to make sure they are secured. The SRO officer will be visible at passing times, recess times, and lunch to assist with supervision but also to build relationships with students. The SRO will help train staff on school security issues such as developing safety and crisis plans for the district, and be a legal resource for teachers to utilize in their class discussions. The SRO will also have extra-curricular duties to assist in the safety of student/athletes and spectators as well. The SRO’s duties will be broad and diverse and vitally will be viewed as an asset to our school and our community.
In conclusion, the purpose in hiring an SRO is to continue to provide a safe environment where our students feel comfortable attending and learning. Our most valuable assets sit in the classroom chairs. As a result, the board has determined that an “ounce of prevention” is a worthwhile investment.