The August 13, 2018 School Board Meeting has an item on the agenda for the School Board to approve School Resource Officer (SRO) contracts with the Commissioner’s, The Sheriff’s Department, and the Cities of Shelby and Kings Mountain to provide SRO services for the schools. The total contract cost will exceed $500,000 and the SRO duties are not specified in any of the three separate contracts. No one person or group has overall responsibility and control of the SROs and CCS oversight and instruction capability is unknown.
Let’s list some problems and concerns about this arrangement:
1. This arrangement shows the Cleveland County School District is not merged and has no plans to ever merge the Shelby, Kings Mountain and the County school zones into one unified school district. This duplication of administration will never result in the cost savings and educational performance and opportunities claimed for a merged system.
2. The SRO duties are not defined except to say that the functions will be performed by duly authorized law enforcement personnel. No mention of school security and how each individual school would need and have individual security needs depending on the layout and operation of that particular individual school. Also no mention is given of the School security Task Force or their recommendations at any level.
3. No person with any training or experience in security operations for schools or any other facility would ever recommend a division of security forces and the necessary command and control structure for such a security force to be effective in any meaningful way.
4. CCS officials named as the three SRO coordinators for the three law enforcement agencies are schooled, trained and have experience in educational administration matters, not SRO or school security matters.
5. No provisions appear to be made to allow the coordination of the three SRO groups and even the three law enforcement agencies in case of a major event at one or more schools simultaneously.
6. It is totally obvious to the most casual of observers that whatever CCS plans there are to effectively utilize these SROs as any sort of organized team is half baked. If baked at all. A divided force with no central planning, command and control against an unknown enemy is a formula for disaster of epic proportions. And the biggest casualties will be our children.
This single agenda item, in a nutshell, indicates exactly what is wrong with the leadership of the School Board, County Commissioners, The Sheriff’s Department, Shelby and Kings Mountain Police Departments, whatever School Security Task Force that Cleveland County may or may not have. Also, The Citizens of Cleveland County completely share the blame in this upcoming fiasco for putting such foolish people in charge of such serious matters to begin with. The children that would suffer in a major security threat are your children. Our children. And you have forsaken them by your lazy ways come election time.
There has got to be a better way to do business than this.
Stay Tuned for more information as it arises. Only luck will save our children now.