Superintendent Dr. Bill Cook has placed a priority on safety and security in our schools. As our district continues to evolve its safety and security program, we are excited to announce that we have contracted with Allied Universal Security to add a School Security Officer (SSO) to each of our 17 elementary schools and the Central Child Development Center.
During the past school year, district administration held a series of safety and security-focused events to listen to parent and community feedback about safety needs in our schools. It became clear through the meetings that having an armed security officer on campus at our elementary schools was a priority. We are grateful to our Board of Trustees for supporting this effort through the district’s budget this year.
By the end of September all elementary schools will be staffed by a trained security officer. Much like School Resource Officers (SROs), the School Safety Officers serving our elementary schools will form relationships with students, employees and families to further ensure our campuses are safe and secure learning environments. The addition of the SSO on your child’s school campus does not replace the School Resource Officer who has previously been assigned to provide coverage from the nearest middle or high school campus. Each school will provide opportunities for the SSO to work alongside the guidance counselor to spend time in classrooms to acclimate students to the SSO, discuss the role of the SSO, and how the SSO is a part of the school community.
Some of the responsibilities for each officer include:
- Serve as a first responder to emergency incidents on school property. Coordinate with and assist law enforcement or other first responders upon their arrival.
- Confront trespassers and unauthorized visitors to determine why they’re on campus and to prevent unlawful entry to campus.
- In coordination with school officials, assist with traffic control, traffic and pedestrian management, and parking before, during, and after school hours.
The School Security Officer program will be managed by retired Rock Hill Police Department Major Steve Thompson. All officers have a minimum of five years of experience in providing armed security service. The officers that will work in our elementary schools have backgrounds that include military service, law enforcement, and private security.
In the weeks ahead, school principals will provide opportunities for parents to meet the School Security Officer serving in your school. Should you have any questions or concerns about this program, please contact Director of Safety and Security Michael Johnson at 803-981-1176.