Lakota Increases SROs

Lakota Increases Number of School Resource Officers
Posted on 07/25/2018
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School Resource Officer and studentsIn another demonstration of its commitment to the safety and security of its students and staff, Lakota Local Schools has committed to hiring eight additional school resource officers (SRO) for the upcoming school year, bringing the total number to 18. This will allow full-time law enforcement coverage at every Lakota school campus.

The action comes after the school board met in executive session on July 23 to discuss school safety and security matters.

“The decision to hire additional school resource officers is one that we stand behind as a school board,” said Julie Shaffer, Lakota school board president. “The safety and security of our students and staff is always our top priority. Each school campus will now have a dedicated officer helping to keep our students safe.”

Following the passage of the 2013 levy, the district more than tripled the number of school resource officers to 10. The SROs, who are members of the Butler County Sheriff’s Office and West Chester Police Department, have divided their time among the district’s 23 buildings. The additional officers will start at Lakota as soon as they are available during the 2018-19 school year.

“We appreciate our partnerships with the West Chester Police Department and Butler County Sheriff’s Office,” said Lakota Superintendent Matthew Miller. “Increasing the number of school resource officers is another layer in our safety and security protocols.”

The decision comes on the heels of other recently announced safety initiatives. Earlier this year, the district announced other new tools such as the SaferSchools Ohio anonymous tip line and Raptor, the new visitor management system that will begin in the fall. The implementation of a peer-to-peer suicide prevention program called Hope Squad at its high schools began in the spring.

These new safety and security plans encompass the mental and emotional health of students as well. Plans to launch Hope Squads at Lakota’s four junior schools have already begun. Furthermore, following last year’s pilot at Lakota West, access to mental health services will expand to include more buildings as a result of the district’s partnership with Mindpeace. Additional efforts, which have not been announced publicly for security reasons, are being reviewed and implemented as well.

Lakota’s new safety initiatives build upon the strong foundation already in place, including but not limited to:

  • A range of safety drills required by law and by the Ohio Department of Education;

  • Active shooter training (ALICE) for all students and staff;

  • Strict and consistent protocols for welcoming visitors and guests into Lakota buildings;

  • Unannounced drug searches in partnership with the Butler County Sheriff’s Office;

  • Proactive anti-bullying programs like Be the Difference, the ID Project and the Fuse Project;

  • A district-wide focus on the E+R=O model (event + your response = affects the outcome), which encourages students and staff to press pause and consider the consequences of their reactions; and

  • Regular administrator training, including simulations, on emergency and crisis management in partnership with local law enforcement.

More information about these safety and security programs is available on the Safety and Security page of Lakota’s website.