Joey Garcia 0

We support a School Resource Officer program for New Paltz

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We have safety issues and concerns when it comes to our schools. What we are doing is not working. Many kids do not feel safe in school. Many parents feel we need to do more. We support bringing an SRO program, a school resource officer program to the district, to take a proactive step with the safety of our children. 5 members of the New Paltz board of education have decided that they will not allow an SRO item in the school budget. They need to know that many parents support an SRO program. This petition is going to them

The SRO would have 3 functions:

Law enforcement officer

Law enforcement educator

Law enforcement counselor

They would build positive relationships with students, to break down barriers, especially between kids of color and law enforcement. They would get to know and become friends with the students. To be an asset and an ally to the kids, not an adversary. The main goal is always improving outcomes for students. They would not be targeting groups of kids in a negative way. That would not be tolerated

They get to know the students, they are among the student population all day and able to identify when safety issues, mental health issues, or any problems are developing at the very early stages. They talk to the kids throughout the day, check on them, see how they’re doing, see if they’re ok

They help identify at risk kids and help facilitate getting them the help that they need. They get to know those kids families if necessary to help the family unit with difficulties that they might be going through that are affecting the child in school

They teach students and staff in the classroom, a variety of topics, not just safety. Drug use/abuse, bullying, sexual assault, deescalation techniques, conflict resolution, victims rights, cyber crimes, aggressive behavior, and more

They keep the district updated daily on local/national crime trends and threats, so the school is better prepared to defend against those threats

They help draft, train for, and implement emergency plans and drills

They would be a first responder that’s on the scene immediately in the event of an emergency

They immediately respond to any unauthorized person on school grounds. Like New Paltz police Chief Snyder alluded to, every second counts when dealing with a threat. And responding to an unauthorized person on grounds should not be the job of an administrator, counselor, or teacher

Every school around us has SRO programs, and love them. It’s time that New Paltz takes the proactive step and bring an SRO program here. All the surrounding district superintendents support SRO programs. So does our police chief, Joe Snyder. So does Ulster County sheriff Juan Figueroa. So does our superintendent. Many parents support the idea. But 5 board members are saying no. Our voices need to be heard

In conclusion, the SRO would be there in a positive role. They could not make arrests. They could be replaced at any time if necessary. The school decides the scope, duties, and limitations of the SRO. Let’s ask the board to put the money back in the budget to start a program, maybe starting with one officer at the high school, and go from there

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