Chairman Stewart Reverses Position on School Resource Officers

| January 9, 2013 | 0 Comments | Education

Chairman Corey Stewart uses Supervisor's Time at the Jan. 6 Board of County Supervisors meeting to discuss the need to review school security.

In light of the Newtown, Conn. tragedy, Board of County Supervisors Chairman At-Large Corey Stewart (R) reversed his position and now recommends that school resource officers remain in designated schools and county and school staff should meet to review school safety procedures.

Prior to the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, Stewart proposed a flat tax that included shifting five police officers from Prince William County middle schools to other assignments.

“As you know, I proposed several cuts: $9.6 million in cuts to the county budget. One of those was a shift. It would have shifted officers involved in the safety resource officer program from the middle schools to patrol,” Stewart said during Supervisor’s Time. “And I think, in light of the tragedy at Newtown in Conn., it only makes sense, in retrospect, to redraw that proposal.”

Stewart is now considering the possibility of stationing even more resource officers in county schools, saying, “In fact, I want to see if there might be ways to expand the SRO program, of course, within our means.”

Additionally, Stewart recommended that the school division meet with county police with the purpose of coming up with recommendations  on how the Supervisors and School Board can cooperate to improve security in schools.

County Executive Melissa Peacor noted that Prince William County Schools has taken a “cutting edge” approach to school security ever since Columbine.

“We have not been without incidents ourselves, so we have had to put our policies and practices into place,” Peacor said.

She reported that she had already spoken with Acting Chief Barry Barnard and also made an appointment to discuss security with Superintendent of Schools Steven Walts.

Stewart said that after the Newtown tragedy, all of the supervisors received email from citizens, urging them to make school safety a priority.

Even as Stewart praised the county schools for being safe, nonetheless, he said he believes security procedures should be examined.

Supervisor John Jenkins (D) of the Neabsco District voiced his approval of Stewart’s decision to fund school resource officers and to look into increasing security measures.

“I want to thank you for that bold move to restore those positions there. I would totally support what you’re doing,” Jenkins said.

Prince William County Schools currently have resource officers in all of the high schools and in five of their middle schools.







© 2013, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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