Saturday, September 26, 2020

School Resource Officers Provide Safety and Life Skills to Students

sros-back-to-school-safetyIt’s the third week of school for Carroll ISD students and they are already hard at work learning new things. Southlake School Resource Officers (SROs) are also hard at work on every campus keeping kids safe and serving as mentors and positive role models.

The School Resource Officer program works in partnership with the City of Southlake, Carroll Independent School District (CISD), staff, teachers, parents, children and the community. SROs not only provide a safe environment for students to learn and grow but they also help students beyond the classroom. They look for ways to build positive relationships with students and to help reinforce good behavior. Through this partnership and active participation, the program allows SROs to fully engage in problem solving, crime prevention measures, and the development of students.

The SROs teach many programs that provide hands-on training including:

  • Safe driving skills – Teaching safe driving skills and hands-on demonstrations about what can happen when a person drives distracted: I.e.; texting and talking on a cell phone, playing games like Pokemon Go and Snapchat, or allowing other teens in the vehicle to take their attention away from driving. SROs let students sit in the driver’s seat of a vehicle equipped with a real-life driving simulator. The students are then presented with different scenarios to let them experience what happens when they text and drive and take their eyes off the road. This instruction provides a very eye-opening experience for teen drivers. It allows them to experience these very real dangers in a safe environment and take those valuable lessons with them when they get behind the wheel.
  • Age appropriate cell phones & safety – SRO Brett Wilson provides instruction on cell phone safety and the appropriate age for a child to have a cell phone as well as what parents should be monitoring.
  • Game Over – This program recreates a major accident and the impact that drugs/alcohol’s negative consequences have upon family, friends, loved ones and the community. The recreation includes a mock accident with real police officers, firefighters and emergency medical services (EMS), ambulance vehicles and a CareFlite helicopter. A student plays the role of the Grimm Reaper, tapping students on the shoulder to represent how many teens die from alcohol-related vehicle accidents each year. A grieving parent arrives on scene during the mock exercise to simulate the immediate shock and emotional impact of learning a loved one has died.
  • Live gaming safety – SRO Wilson also provides information on the dangers of kids playing games like X-Box Live where child predators can find ways to connect with children through the live gaming App. These important lessons are provided for kids and parents.
  • Suicide prevention – SROs teach a course on suicide prevention and how to recognize signs of calls for help including “cutting” or other self-destructive acts.
  • Officer Incredible & positive mentoring – SRO Diron Hill turns into Officer Incredible, complete with hero costume and all to reinforce good behavior with students. He helps kids be good students and good citizens. SRO Hill even rewards good students with lunch with Officer Incredible as an added incentive. Kids love it and clamor to do well in school and to be selected.
  • Student engagement – SRO Frank LaGrassa makes it his mission to learn every student’s name in his school within the first two weeks. He calls them by name as the students arrive and leave school in the afternoon. SRO LaGrassa helps teach the kids that they can turn to him for help in any situation.
  • Drug awareness – SRO Cory Rattan teaches drug awareness and the dangers of drug use to students.  He also holds a class on accident reconstruction to help students understand the importance of learning math and algebra.  SRO Rattan also mentors students through the “Dragon Hero” program, which reinforces doing good deeds for others.
  • Cyber-bullying – SROs also teach kids about “Cyber-bullying” – The goal is to teach students how negatively cyber-bulling can impact another student’s life, health and wellbeing.

SRO Brett WilsonThese examples are just a sampling of the kind of mentoring and proactive educational instruction classes provided by our Southlake School Resource Officers. To give you an idea how much time SROs spend with students, in 2015, SROs held more than 4,500 meetings — mentoring kids, meeting with students and parents, and providing classroom and hands-on instruction.

SROs have become a welcomed fixture on every CISD campus. Their presence allows students and teachers to learn and teach in a safe environment. The life skills and lessons taught by Southlake SROs are an added benefit.

Background

The School Resource Officer program initially began in 1992 with three SROs. In 2013, following the escalation of violence in schools across the country, the City of Southlake and its Police Department expanded the program to put an SRO in every CISD school.

School Resource Officers are experienced officers. They receive specialized training before becoming an SRO, including but not limited to, instruction in Juvenile Law, Autism Awareness, Sexual Assault and Family Violence, Active Shooter Training, and other related courses. SROs also receive additional training throughout the year. The approximate yearly cost for the SRO program is $1 million, and it comes from a 1/8-cent sales tax through the Crime Control and Prevention District.

 If you would like to know more about our SRO programs, feel free to talk with the SRO at your child’s school or contact the SRO supervisor Sgt. John Stokes at jstokes@ci.southlake.tx.us.       

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