Our students need school resource officers

Our students need school resource officers

It is amazing that as a result of the Sandy Hook tragedy how many cities and school districts have stepped up to implement plans to ensure a safe school environment for the students entrusted to them. However, I find it equally dismaying that Pawtucket is considering reducing the amount of school resource officers.

SROs are a deterrent. They have built positive relationships with our children and community, and have received additional training to successfully work with children.

I wonder why when most communities are moving forward using proactive measures, Pawtucket has decided to step backward, and risk endangering the safety of our children.

Providing additional behavioral specialists will provide aid in crisis situations and with classroom behavioral issues. However, not all crises originate from within the school, and while these experts will be beneficial de-escalating and defusing explosive situations, they do not provide the same security and protection from the outside world that trained professional police officers do.

These behavioral specialists simply cannot replace these officers and the services they provide to our children. I fully recognize that both the officers and specialists provide crucial services to our children, but these providers and services are not interchangeable.

I question when were parents going to be notified? Why have we been excluded from providing input? What has to happen before this situation is rectified? These trained officers work hard to keep our children safe. Does someone have to get injured or worse before Pawtucket takes safety seriously?

I urge all concerned parents of high school and middle school children in Pawtucket to contact the mayor's office and voice their concerns.

Heather Gingras

Pawtucket