Why Bartlesville Public Schools believe adding student resource officers will increase safety

In the wake of the May 24 school shooting in Uvalde, the Bartlesville General public University district and the City of Bartlesville agreed to increase the district’s police existence from three to nine.

As the ideas move ahead, BPS officials say they will attract “clear lines” to stop the evaluate from becoming extra destructive than beneficial.

The use of faculty source officers (SROs) nationwide has gained some criticism in new many years, with organizations like the ACLU and even late-night communicate-demonstrate Final Week Tonight covering the measure and its probable troubles.

Skeptics of the evaluate cite knowledge exhibiting the presence of SROs leads to improved arrests and criminalization of youth conduct that would usually be managed by the college.

Kerry Ickleberry, BPS director of wellness and basic safety — and the spouse of Bartlesville Police Section Capt. Kevin Ickleberry — said the district approaches the romantic relationship with SROs by drawing a very clear distinction involving what should really be handled by district employees compared to the officers.

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“That was the intention from the starting, that we have very clear lanes. (SROs) don’t discipline,” Ickleberry stated. “We’re really crystal clear. …. They are by no means to be made use of as a self-control agent and the college is never to be employed as their interrogation agent.”

SROs are directed to not enforce university regulations, these types of as costume code policies. If a university staff ended up to check out applying an officer for a willpower reason, district leaders would handle it with that personnel, correcting the actions, Ickleberry stated.

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Furthermore, officers would not be permitted to make some requests of academics, these types of as inquiring them to check with young ones sure thoughts.

“We in no way, ever want an officer to come in and do what we’re intended to do and we’re not going to do what they are intended to do. We have clear recommendations, we have a mutual understanding agreement and we have discussions and frequent meetings,” she stated.

Soon just after the Texas taking pictures, BPS Superintendent Chuck McCauley fulfilled with Bartlesville City Supervisor Mike Bailey and BPD Chief Tracy Roles to explore attainable actions to make the faculties extra protected.

At this time, the district employs three officers who rotate in between the universities. The hiring of additional officers — with a person placed at each individual faculty — was proposed, and afterwards approved by the Bartlesville Town Council.

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Ickleberry stated the new SROs will be seasoned officers — BPD is reassigning current officers and hiring new types, in its place of choosing new officers just for the schools.

Like the current SROS, the new ones will do ongoing teaching as a result of the Nationwide Affiliation of College Resource Officers (NASRO) and work in a triad of roles outlined by NASRO — mentor, educator and casual counselor, she reported.

“Our 3 SROs and the ones to occur are like our group users. They are very significantly helping us. I’ve seen them deescalate young children, communicate to young ones, mentor children,” Ickleberry reported.

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In just the district, SROs enable direct security instruction, these kinds of as the lockdown drills accomplished twice each semester. They also implement other basic safety steps, these as examining that entry details to the college are minimal, McCauley claimed.

Ickleberry stated they also function with district team to do risk assessments and do property visits for learners who have been consistently absent.

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“They system to shield us, but they also approach to integrate with us and enable us with avoidance and aiding a college student have a further human being they can go get to out to and converse to about something that issues them,” Ickleberry said.

BPS has taken various actions in current a long time to boost stability.

Within the last two decades, stability cameras across the campuses have been expanded and replaced. Entryways have also been secured and the district has implemented Lobby Guard equipment — visitor management units that demand faculty readers to scan their ID, alerting school staff if the person is discovered as a risk.

“We’ve genuinely invested heavily in basic safety all through the district, we have a lot of treatments in place,” McCauley claimed. “But clearly when you have a disaster or a single of these tragedies that arrive up, it is a different cause to bring to mild the value of adhering to the safety protocols we currently have in place.”

This article initially appeared on Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise: Bartlesville believes pupil source officers could maximize basic safety