COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - We are about to enter the start of another school year. It's a time for hitting the books, reconnecting with classmates and getting re-acclimated with the rigors of education.
With the start of a new year, school safety is also a concern. Just days ago, the South Carolina Board Of Education announced new recommendations for School Resource Officer conduct. Those rules would limit officers' involvement with student discipline. It all comes nearly a year after video surfaced showing a Richland County Deputy pulling a teenager from her desk and tossing her across the floor. The deputy had been called to class because the student was being disruptive. That led to a firestorm of reaction both in opposition to-and in support of- the SRO's actions.
The new rules call for new classifications for student misbehavior. Officers would no longer be allowed to get involved until offenses become a direct threat to safety, such as assault and gun possession. Now, it's not a done deal yet. The regulations still require another vote before heading to legislators.
SROs were brought into the schools during the 1990's not only as a way to foster a safer learning environment for our kids, but to connect officers to the children and the parents of their communities.
The WIS Editorial board applauds the efforts of the BOE for initiating the discussion on the use of school resource officers. With the critical eyes of the public now watching law enforcement agencies, it's important that the state re-evaluate and re-enforce the purpose of SROs in our schools.
That's my take. What yours?