Editorial: GISD defensive about nixing school officers

September 29, 2012

GISD defensive about nixing school officers

We were a little surprised by the recent reaction of Granbury School Board President Micky Shearon to a fairly innocuous article regarding Sheriff Roger Deed’s desire to see Student Resource Officers (SROs) put back in the schools. Deeds believes the presence of officers increases safety.

Shearon is entitled to his opinion, of course. In fact, we agree with much of what he said. But we don’t agree with everything – and neither does the sheriff.

Shearon said that on two recent occasions when he ate lunch at Granbury High School, and again when he attended a pep rally, students were “extremely well-behaved, courteous and respectful.”

That’s great. But surely common sense would dictate that, in today’s world, that description would not hold true for some students. Those who have become embroiled in violent confrontations at school or engaged in cafeteria food fights that caused significant damage and chaos are not “well-behaved, courteous and respectful.”

Granbury Police Officer Jeff Hastings, who heads up the DARE anti-drug program for elementary students, has a fantastic reputation, and we can see why school officials “have a lot of confidence” in him to be a good liaison. But he can only be on one campus at a time. And the truancy officer is just that; he deals with truancies.

Deeds’ hopes that GISD officials will someday reinstate SROs at the high school, both middle schools and the ninth grade campus did not involve “innuendo and exaggeration,” as Shearon stated. Nor did the article create “an invented conflict between the school district and the sheriff’s office.”

The HCN shares the sheriff’s belief that SROs provide an added measure of safety in an environment that – nationwide – has proven to be quite vulnerable. Sure, responding officers would arrive quickly in the event of an emergency but, according to Deeds, a deputy already on the scene might prevent the need for a massive law enforcement response to begin with. We understand that the school district has to cut costs just like everybody else right now. But GISD leaders could find the $200,000 if they wanted to.

Maybe what they really want is to keep the public at bay with the false impression that drugs and violence and other bad things happen elsewhere, not here. In addition to relying on Officer Hastings, GISD officials said they expect a positive impact from Rachel’s Challenge, a program designed to replace bullying and violence with kindness and respect. It’s named after Rachel Scott.

She was the first student killed in the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School.

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