F-M school board to consider hiring school resource officer

The Fayetteville-Manlius Board of Education will vote on whether to hire a school resource officer following a recommendation from a 41-member task force at tonight’s regular board meeting. The vote is expected to take place at the board's Jan. 9 meeting.

“Task force members believe the addition of an SRO would enable the district to focus on continuous improvement of the safety and security of the internal and external facilities and grounds and the important work of education and mentoring of youth,” states a report by the F-M Safety & Security Task Force, which consists of F-M teachers and administrators, students, parents and elected officials. “While not at epidemic stages, drugs, alcohol, and face-to-face bullying and cyber bullying are a concern here, as in all schools.”

The SRO’s primary responsibility would be to mentor and educate students on the district’s code of conduct — both the expected behaviors according to the code and the consequences of violating the code, said Superintendent Corliss Kaiser. The SRO would be an on-duty police officer who would be armed and have the ability to make arrests, if needed.

Experts, including Manlius Police Department officials, have told district officials that hiring an SRO would allow students to develop a relationship with the officer that may prevent some issues with drugs, alcohol and bullying, including cyber bullying. A Manlius police officer currently serves as an SRO for the East Syracuse-Minoa School District, school officials said.

In addition to hiring an SRO, the task force also recommended that the district:

—Provide more training to supervision aides, staff, and faculty.

—Help all students, starting in elementary school, better understand bullying issues.

—Use high school students to work with elementary students.

—Have planned/scheduled time with the SRO in all schools, as well as ad hoc appearances.

—Have a visible, accessible and appropriately located office in the high school as a home base for SRO.

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