19 May 2019

School Resource Officers

The Best Option for a Worsening Crisis.

The Best Choice for West Melbourne Schools

~500 words, ~3 min. read.

There is intense worry about mass shooters and the safety of our children in schools. There is no way that the West Melbourne City Council will be able to solve this problem, but there are proactive ways to help minimize some of the risks faced by the students, parents, and teachers that live, work, and play in the City of West Melbourne. From all the information available, from previous military and teaching experiences, and being as objective as possible, I am convinced that fully supported School Resource Officers are currently the best available option for minimizing these mass shooter risks to our children.

A reactive approach is to consider what to do if the horror of a school mass shooting unfolds. Unfortunately, by the time such an event is triggered it is already too late. A proactive approach is to consider what we can do now to prevent such an event in the first place and how to react if that plan fails.

The K-12 educational state standards in Florida are seemingly misguided. Intense pressure is placed on students by these standards with little regard to natural cognitive development, an individual's learning style, or an individual's intrinsic talent. Instead, students are bundled by age, held to seemingly arbitrary academic standards, and tested ad nauseam. The academic pressure increases through the grade levels as kids struggle with transformative physical and emotional development. Florida state standards have created K-12 schools that can be psychological pressure cookers. How would living in such an environment affect anyone's state of mind?

A School Resource Officer has the best possible chance of recognizing and acting on a red-flag. A School Resource Officer gets to know students, teachers, and family members. A School Resource Officer is personally invested in West Melbourne and the West Melbourne Police Department. A School Resource Officer parks a City Police vehicle in front of a school's single point of entry. A School Resource Officer normalizes and humanizes police officers for those students that may have been given negative impressions of their roles.

Policing is not just about reacting to crime. It's also about helping to build a community where everyone looks out for each other, encourages each other, and is strong together. Any other form of armed personnel in a school simply isn't enough to leverage all lines of prevention to the horrific challenges placed firmly in the way of a robust education system. The "cheaper" options are inadequate when it comes to the safety of our children and meeting state mandated requirements for school security.

The City of West Melbourne cannot change the education system. However, it can recognize all the possible ways a School Resource Officer can help students, families, and our community. Every way the City can strongly support the West Melbourne Police Department School Resource Officer program should be explored. The City of West Melbourne can give our children, parents, and teachers the best possible piece of mind as we tip-toe through these troubling times.

School Resource Officers are the best option for a worsening crisis.