SOUTH CAROLINA (WJBF) — New school resource officers will soon be stationed in schools across the state that currently lack coverage.
“We’ve added resource officers we hope to continue that,” Aiken County Public Schools’ Interim Superintendent told NewsChannel 6’s Shawn Cabbagestalk. “I know that South Carolina’s General Assembly and the state department of education are very interested in adding resource officers to all of our schools and we certainly support them and look forward working with them to make that happen,” he added.
The funding for 205 new resource officers was appropriated by the South Carolina General Assembly for the 2019-2020 fiscal year.
“There is no issue more important than the safety and well-being of our students and teachers,” said State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman. “School resource officers are a deterrent to violence within the school building and their training and response to crime is an invaluable asset that allows educators to focus on instruction. The funding of these 205 officers puts us within reach of meeting our goal for having a SRO in every school.”
All 81 traditional public school districts as well as the Erskine Charter Institute and S.C. Public Charter School District will be receiving funds to pay for one to four new officers depending on the district’s need. The total funding awarded is $11,864,005.
In 2018, State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman, Governor Henry McMaster, S.C. Law Enforcement Chief Mark Keel, and the S.C. Department of Mental Health established a school safety vision that included having a school resource officer in every school as well as a mental health counselor in every school along with additional resources and training for students, educators, and communities.
The General Assembly has also provided $2.2 million in additional funds to hire more mental health counselors.
The following districts within the Augusta, Ga./Aiken, S.C. coverage area will receive the following number of officers.
- Aiken: 4
- Allendale: 2
- Bamberg 1: 1
- Bamberg 2: 2
- Barnwell 19: 1
- Barnwell 29: 2
- Barnwell 45: 2
- Edgefield: 4
- McCormick: 2
- Saluda: 2