Board votes to change school resource program
The Tyler County Board of Education voted in favor of switching from the School Resource Officer program to the Prevention Resource Officer program at a special March 30 meeting.
The board voted to submit a two-year Prevention Resource Officer grant. The grant commits the board to paying 75 percent of the program costs in the second year, from July 2010 to June 2011.
The first year, July 2009 through June 2010, will be completely covered by the grant. The SRO grant ran out Jan. 1.
The PRO Program is a cooperative effort between schools and law enforcement to improve student’s attitudes and knowledge of criminal justice and law enforcement; to prevent kids from committing crimes; to mentor youth; to provide a safer school environment; and to combine safety and child advocacy assuring a better school experience for all WV youth.
The PRO program places certified WV Police Officers who are also certified Prevention Resource Officers in local middle and high schools. The officers maintain an office in the school, are in that one school 35-40 hours per week, attend extra curricular activities, facilitate classes on non-traditional educational topics; such as juvenile law, domestic violence, underage drinking, drug and alcohol prevention, and child abuse and neglect to name a few. They work on safety issues, prevention, and learning more about youth and interacting with them.
The difference in the PRO program and the School Resource Officer program is that the PRO program focuses on prevention, mentoring, and safety while most SRO programs focus on policing and security.
The county’s first School Resource Officer was current Tyler County Sheriff Bob Kendle, then a deputy with the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office. He retired in 2007 and was replaced by as SRO by Deputy Scott Dalrymple. Dalrymple will become PRO if the grant is accepted.
“I’m doing hunter education classes now, helping with the monitoring in the lunch rooms, talking with the students and mingling with them,” explained Dalrymple.
PRO program has three main components: prevention, mentoring, and safety. The officers facilitate classes on non-traditional educational topics. Officers are trained on how to be a positive mentor to students they interact with daily and. Officers are trained to recognize potential danger, prevent violence, and to respond to dangerous school situations.
Dalrymple has seen results with the SRO program and hopes the county can receive the PRO grant.
“This year it seem like that fights, compared with last year when I started, are down,” said Dalrymple.
“As far as the expulsions and suspensions they’re down this year compared to other years. It makes an impact to have a PRO here. It’s a good program to have on board.”
The Prevention Resource Officer program was first implemented at Hurricane High School. It originated with a Juvenile Justice Changing Directions program then was expanded into the school through Local Law Enforcement funding as well as Juvenile Justice funding.