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How school resources officers help students in Ohio

Posted at 7:24 PM, May 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-25 19:24:28-04

CLEVELAND — The tragedy in Texas is raising questions about what schools are doing to keep students safe.

School resources officers are law enforcement officers assigned to work inside schools.

Their jobs are to help identify and eliminate thefts.

But we don't know how many Ohio schools have them or if they've all received the special training they need.

"To be able to really engage with students, especially adolescents you've got to know a lot about them," said Mo Canady, the executive director of the National Association of School Resource officers. "You've got to really want to do the job. This has got to be, again, the right fit"

Since Columbine in 1999, schools started adding SROs to their staff.

Canady's organization estimates there are between 14,000 and 20,000 nationwide.

But since some work in more than schools and larger schools have more than one, it's impossible to count how many students are better protected.

"Our association believes it is critically important that a school has a carefully selected and specifically trained SRO," Canady said.

Ohio doesn't maintain a list of SROs either, but they are required to receive special training.

Training that helps them build relationships to understand children's brains and spot warning signs.

"States like Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, Alabama, Texas. These are states that are really I think very progressive in terms of making sure SROS are part of the educational fabric if you will," Canady said.

Canady said this is more important than ever and not just because of the tragedy in Texas, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic and everything that's followed since.

"We still have a lack of understanding of, I think, of where we are and how we're coming out of it," Canady said.

While Canady strongly recommends more schools hire resource officers, he said that's not the only job that needs to be filled.

He also believes schools should hire more mental health professionals so that students that are in trouble get help before a tragedy happens.

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