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By David Yarger
It was a light and brief meeting for the North Tonawanda Common Council, but security in schools was an important item put forth to the agenda.
The council entered into an agreement Tuesday with the North Tonawanda City School District to assign a North Tonawanda police officer as school resource officer at the middle and high schools.
The initiative began last year and will continue into the 2019-20 school year.
The agreement, as it reads on the agenda, will “provide a law enforcement presence in the school district to promote and provide an atmosphere of enhanced school safety for faculty, staff, students and school visitors;
“Provide a law enforcement resource to students, teachers, school administrators and parents;
“Provide a confidential counseling resource and/or referral to students who may be experiencing a variety of school, family or social problems; and …
“Provide education in law enforcement, as requested and appropriate.”
Also, according to the agenda, the SRO will allocate and apportion their time between the middle school campus and the high school “in accordance with the needs of the school district.”
The SRO will be present on school days from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
After analyzing the results of last year’s debut run of an SRO presence, North Tonawanda Mayor Arthur Pappas said the position helped the district big time.
“It seemed to be mutually agreed that it did have a positive result,” Pappas said. “The officer there is doing a very good job. He’s related very well to the students and the staff. So, so far, it’s going over very well. There’s been no negatives.”
With safety in schools being a major concern in this day and age, Pappas said the SRO presence is something the district needed to help protect the city’s students, staff and administrators.
“I think in this day you really have no choice,” Pappas said. “We have to have security in the schools, we need security in public buildings. In fact, we need security almost everywhere. The difficult part of it is getting enough security and being able to provide what really needs to be done in terms of security. But everyone is working on that now, and little by little we’re making progress.”
To read more regarding the SRO position, visit http://www.northtonawanda.org/file-library/100125/7.16.19_CC_agenda_pk.pdf and scroll to Page 8.