Su­per­vi­sors in Saratoga County thoughts on re­moval of armed guards in schools

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - OPINION -

The re­cent de­ci­sion made by mem­bers of the Saratoga Springs City School Dis­trict to re­move armed guards from its schools has gen­er­ated much pub­lic in­ter­est and a call for ad­di­tional safety and se­cu­rity mea­sures to help pro­tect the chil­dren and fac­ulty in the ed­u­ca­tional fa­cil­i­ties lo­cated out­side of the city lim­its.

Re­marks pub­lished in the Oc­to­ber, 25th edi­tion of the Sarato­gian, Saratoga Springs City School Dis­trict Su­per­in­ten­dent Michael Pat­ton ref­er­ences the Gun Free Zone Schools Act of 1990, as the boards rea­son­ing to re­verse the nearly 30 year old pol­icy.

As Su­per­vi­sors from the towns of Green­field, Mil­ton, Wil­ton and the City of Saratoga Springs, we sup­port the School Dis­trict’s ef­fort to im­prove safety and se­cu­rity and en­cour­age the Saratoga Springs School Board to learn more about the Saratoga County Sher­iff’s Of­fices’ School Re­source Of­fi­cer (SRO) pro­gram, a pro­gram that is per­mis­si­ble un­der the Gun Free Zone Schools Act of 1990.

Im­ple­mented at the begin­ning of the 2018 school year, the Saratoga County Sher­iff’s Of­fice SRO pro­gram is now ac­tive in ev­ery school dis­trict across Saratoga County, ex­cept two. One, be­ing the City of Saratoga Springs School Dis­trict. The pro­gram has been well re­ceived and is con­sid­ered a tremen­dous suc­cess in those districts who have SRO’s on its cam­pus. We ap­plaud the Board for hav­ing the SRO pro­gram at schools within the City lim­its, but the dis­trict en­com­passes all our towns and can be im­ple­mented at those schools as well.

Not only will the Saratoga County Sher­iff’s Of­fice SRO’s pro­vide safety and se­cu­rity mea­sures, they will play an ac­tive role in­ter­act­ing with the chil­dren on a daily ba­sis, as well as teach­ing top­ics on in­ter­net safety, an­tibul­ly­ing and drug preven­tion. In ad­di­tion, SRO’s will pro­vide sup­port for school dis­trict staff in the ar­eas of lock­downs, ad­vo­cacy, safety brief­ings and de­brief­ings, in-school in­frac­tions and in­di­vid­u­al­ized train­ing.

A Saratoga County Sher­iff’s Of­fice SRO is a tremen­dous as­set that should not be over­looked. We strongly en­cour­age you to con­sider meet­ing with Saratoga County Sher­iff Michael Zurlo and his staff to learn more about the SRO pro­gram and the crit­i­cal com­mu­nity ser­vices it pro­vides.

Re­spect­fully, Dan Pem­rick Su­per­vi­sor-Town of Green­field Scott Os­tran­der Su­per­vi­sor-Town of Mil­ton Matthew E. Veitch Su­per­vi­sor-City of Saratoga Springs Arthur John­son Su­per­vi­sor-Town of Wil­ton

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