West Carroll Special School District to add school resource officer

CARROLL COUNTY, Tenn. — When it comes to violence in school, many people would like to believe that it would never happen to them in their town, but school leaders say, even so, they want to do everything they can to be prepared for anything.

The West Carroll Special School District held a special called meeting Thursday to discuss school safety.

“The school belongs to the community. It belongs to the taxpayers and the parents of the children here. I’m glad to see them involved,” said a member of the Carroll County School Board.

The motion approved was to hire an SRO, or school resource officer. After school shootings have recently rocked the nation, board members say this is an idea that is long overdue.

“There’s 141 school districts in the state of Tennessee, and eight of them don’t have an SRO, and we were one of the eight,” one board member said.

The SRO will work between the three schools within the county, a joint venture with the sheriff’s department.

“The school district will pick up the salary, and the sheriff’s office will provide all of the training and equipment, vehicles, everything of that nature to go along with it,” Carroll County Sheriff Andy Dickson said.

Sheriff Dickson says the officer will do more than deter students from committing a crime.

“It gives the children in the school a chance to personally get to know one of the officers and understand that they’re not there to be their enemy, that they’re there to help them,” the sheriff said.

Board members say the addition may force them to make adjustments to the budget, but they say there’s no price for safety.

“If our kids don’t feel safe at school, then they can’t have a good learning environment,” said the board.

Sheriff Dickson says the school board will help make the decision on who is hired as the new SRO, then he will take that candidate into consideration and make sure they have all the necessary qualifications.

Board members say they hope to have an officer ready by the beginning of next year.

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