Anonymous donor to pay for school resource officers

Authored by Jim Langham on Jan 18, 2013

Adams Central Schools superintendent Mike Pettibone had bad news and good news for school board members at Monday night’s meeting.
The grant that has sustained the presence of school resource officers in each of the county school systems over the past several years has come to an end.
The good news is that there is an anonymous donor who is willing to fund the entire program for each of the three schools over a three-year period.
Pettibone said that the cost of such an officer, who spends the day in visible presence among students, is $12,800 each year. The donor, said Pettibone, would be making $36,000 available to the school systems for the sustaining of the program.
“This donor is also going to give toward maintaining programs in mental health and Life Matters,” said Pettibone.
Those officials of school safety directly in Adams Central assured board members that they have been meeting and doing everything possible to secure the safety of the AC building. Those individuals are discussing such options as locking classrooms and empowering teachers to be prepared to respond in the case of unsafe circumstances.
Judy Stetler, representing the safety effort at AC said, “After the tragedy in Connecticut, we are doing everything that we can to make sure that our kids are safe. We’ve spent a lot of time talking to county officials and first responders.”
Pettibone said that an Adams County School Safety Commission meets every two months. The countywide effort is coordinated by Kim Fullove, who has been in charge of coordinating the Safe School Healthy Student grant.
“There are federal initiatives that are coming out of the school shootings,” Fullove said. “We want to make sure that we can impact all kids throughout the county.”
Fullove said that areas addressed by the Safe School initiative include drug and alcohol, mental health, early childhood social and emotional health, social and emotional needs overall, school safety and different programs designed to address all of the various needs.
Charlie Cook, school resource officer for Adams Central, said that there are lockdown drills in various forms four times a year.
“There is dead silence among the students when we do the lockdowns,” Cook told board members.
Fullove said that studies in the county have recorded several positive effects from the program. They include:
- Reduced percentage of students in grades 6-12 suspended from school for fighting
- Reduced percentage of students in grades 6-12 who reported that they were involved in a physical fight in the last year
- Increased number of students grades K-12 accessing mental health services
- Increased number of mental health referrals resulting in service
- Increased graduation rate from 89.9 percent in 2008-09 to 92.5 percent two years later
- Brought about a 66 percent reduction in expulsion.

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