SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Like many local districts, the Saratoga Springs School District staffs its schools with resource officers. Discussions at the Board of Education meetings continue to float out the idea of adding more. It’s an idea that’s garnering mixed reviews from parents and students.
Saratoga Springs City School District superintendent Michael Patton says the New York Schools Insurance Reciprocal (NYSIR) just completed a district wide safety audit to determine the best way to protect pupils. Law enforcement staffing these positions say the primary focus of the program is safety.
Captain Daniel Morley with the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office and says he’s seen the first hand impact of the local resource officers. Morley says “there have been some hairy situations locally and in hindsight looking back at them thank goodness our deputies were there. ” He went on to say “there’s been some significant situations where they felt comfortable enough to come up to the officer and disclose something that could potentially change their lives.”
But some students say more police on school property doesn’t necessarily mean a feeling of more security. Eighth grader Eden Kopans says school resource officers often make her and her friends feel uneasy in the hallways. “I appreciate that they’re trying to make us feel safe but it really doesn’t,” she said. “They say they’re resources to talk to if we’re ever feeling upset, but if I’m feeling scared or upset I’m not talking to the guy with a gun.”
According to the ACLU, on average, schools pay $62,000 per full time resource officer each year. Kopans says she rather see the district funnel that money elsewhere, like student mental health.
But Captain Morley hopes his department’s work in local schools speaks for itself. “Every single time the chips have been down and there’s been a situation, we responded appropriately and thank goodness they were there,” he said.
The Saratoga Springs School District will release the findings of their safety audit on December 1, which could impact future decisions on resource officers.