Page 25

Parker Chronicle 25

May 17, 2019

SAFETY FROM PAGE 3

Douglas County School District Board President David Ray, Superintendent Thomas Tucker, Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock and Undersheriff Holly Nicholson-Kluth sat at tables in front of the board listening to public comment. Spurlock said his department does not have enough resources to provide the number of school resource officers needed in each district school. The district has 68,000 students — roughly the population of the county seat, Castle Rock — spread across 91 schools. The enrollment makes the district the third largest in Colorado. Every traditional high school has a school resource officer or SRO, Spurlock said, but not as many as the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) recommends there be per student — a

ratio of one SRO for every 1,000 students. NASRO recommends considering such factors as campus size, school climate and location in determing the number of SROs per school. In Douglas County, some district SROs are responsible for overseeing more than 2,000 students and often split their time with a middle school. Spurlock said he would like to see nine more SROs placed in the district — one for every public high school and middle school he oversees. Spurlock said Douglas County was blessed to have access to $10 million but that it would take “a number of initiatives” to fund SROs. Lt. Lori Bronner with the sheriff ’s office said SROs are much more “than just a gun walking around.” They provide education about issues like cyberbullying and dating violence and engrain themselves in the student body. When threats are made against schools, they work with administrators to track down the origin. “They are part of that school com-

munity,” she said. “They are friends, they are family. That school, those students are part of their heart and their soul.” Tucker said memory of the STEM shooting was still at the forefront of his mind, and that the $10 million was an opportunity for community partners to work toward solutions and “put away our partisan politics.” “I still have a heavy heart as a father, a grandfather and one of the first school district responders who gathered, who descended upon STEM last Tuesday,” he said. He thanked voters for passing bond and mill levy override ballot issues in November, which he said helped pay for additional security measures in schools and that they’ve hired 75 counselors. “I hope that not a single school, not a single student, would ever have to endure what we saw last Tuesday,” Tucker said. “There’s just no excuse for that and there aren’t any words to really put that tragedy into perspective.”

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