School Resource Officers take training to ensure student safety

LOWNDES COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – While school should be one of the safest places for you to send your child you never know what could happen from one day to the next.

Some of the people charged with watching out for your child’s safety are spending part of their Spring Break improving their skills.

The students that usually go to school at New Hope High School are on Spring Break, but that doesn’t mean that class is completely out of session.

Education of a different type is going on. School resource Officers are training to keep New Hope and other schools like it safe.

“It makes me feel good to get up in the morning and make a difference in a kid’s life and keep them safe and let them know that they are somebody too,” said Sheriff Eddie Hawkins.

And that is just a part of what School Resource officers are supposed to do.

This week around 30 SROs from several states joined together at New Hope High School for training.

This week-long training is being offered by the National Association of School Resource Officers.

Participating officers are learning how to treat students, how to respond to certain situations, and what makes students ‘tick’.

And while School Resource Officers are in charge of walking the halls and keeping students and faculty safe, Hawkins said they are so much more…

“They are more than just a security guard. They are a mentor who is available to identify at-risk youth and troubled youth and bring them up and help lift their spirits. They cut down on things like bullying so there are a lot of things that a school resource officer does behind the scenes that even students don’t realize they’re doing but it takes the right person and the right fit to do a job like this and we are lucky to have the right officers we have here in Lowndes County looking after our children,” said Hawkins.

Instructor Jordan Kelley said it’s going to be a busy week.

“They are gaining the knowledge of school law and what they can do and what they can’t do in a school setting but they are also learning about adolescent brain development and they are learning how the adolescent brain works. They are learning about trauma-informed practices and how to deal with students who experience trauma in their life be it a loss of their loved one or the incarceration of a family member,” said Kelley.

And even those who have been doing this for a while said you never stop learning.

Lowndes County SRO Sergeant Hunter Parker said every day is an opportunity to pick up something new.

“Every day is a new experience and it’s a constantly growing thing to learn more this class is helping a lot with learning on how to do certain things and how to react and interact with students and faculty and the administration,” said Parker.

The Lowndes County School Board recently agreed to staff all three schools in the county with two School Resource Officers.

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