School resource officers are a good idea

Each year it seems that violence in schools becomes less of a shock. School shootings and threats against the safety of our children have forced school boards, even in small towns like ours, to take action.

Last week, the Tupper Lake school board discussed the feasibility of a school resource officer and an Essex County police officer approached the Saranac Lake school board to garner support for a resource officer in the Bloomingdale Elementary School, as he hopes to put one in each school in the county.

Resource officers are much more than just law enforcement inside the school. They are a familiar face walking the hallways, interacting with students and fostering trust and communication.

Our local and state police already do a great job of greeting students with a friendly smile and a high-five outside schools each morning.

There are many things for these school boards to consider when discussing the possibility of a resource officer, especially how much it would cost and who would pay for the position. Do we arm these resource officers? What type of liability would arming them bring about? These are all very important questions that each board will need to discuss.

Another question is how to use a resource officer. They can serve as counselors, educators, public relations for law enforcement and whatever that specific school district needs them to be.

Tupper Lake school Superintendent Seth McGowan pointed out that a school resource officer does not eliminate the possibility of a threat, but it does reduce the harm one can cause.

It’s a big ball to get rolling, but we’re happy to see our local school districts being proactive about student safety.