LPCSD board wants resource officer, but not as proposed

To the editor:

I am writing to clarify the Lake Placid Central School District’s Board of Education position on school resource officers. In the Nov. 27 Adirondack Daily Enterprise, a front-page article titled “Mixed reaction to Lake Placid’s rejection of armed school officers” is misleading, and the subtitle of “cost remains a big concern” is not totally accurate for the LPCSD.

I commend the members of the LPCSD Board of Education for their diligence in researching and discussing the topic of the school resource officer concept. The board did an excellent job of taking the position of SUPPORTING the concept of an SRO; however, we rejected Essex County’s SRO proposal. The board’s decision was made only after extensive discussion and allowing for multiple opportunities for public input. We held a board meeting in Wilmington where open discussion took place, and then in Lake Placid where again the SRO topic was presented for discussion. In the end, the board felt strongly that the known elements of the Essex County SRO proposal did not meet the LPCSD’s expectations on an SRO program.

Any program comes with a cost, so the proposed $20,000 to be contributed to Essex County was a minor factor in comparison to the many uncertainties of the proposed county SRO plan. SRO programs are not all the same; they are derived from a multitude of structures and designs. The design presented to the LPCSD board was not seen as a good fit for our district, and therefore this resulted in a rejection of the Essex County SRO proposal.

The LPCSD Board of Education is in favor of a SRO program, and we are currently exploring avenues to bring an SRO program to our district. An SRO program that meets the needs of our district is essential to the success of this program. A “one size fits all” program this is not. You cannot apply a price to school and student safety; however, hastily entering into a program of this sort is ill-advised. We are confident that we will come to a timely consensus on this vital issue.

Please feel free to attend our next Board of Education meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 4, beginning at 6:30 p.m., or any of our regularly scheduled meetings held on the first and third Tuesday of the month beginning at 6:30 p.m. For additional information, call the superintendent’s office at 518-523-2475.

Thank you.

Richard M. Preston

President

Lake Placid School Board of Education

Lake Placid

(Editor’s note: Mr. Preston quotes the article’s subhead only in part. The full subhead was, “Other districts remain undecided; cost remains a big concern,” and it applied not to Lake Placid but to other Essex County school districts the Enterprise talked to for the article. Superintendents in Keene, Schroon Lake and Moriah said in the article that cost was a big concern for their districts.)

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