School Resource Officers Valuable

Ohio County Board of Education members are wise to retain a school resource officer program, even as federal funding for it dries up. They understand the initiative’s importance in many ways, not the least of which is safeguarding students and school personnel against armed intruders.

Local school and law enforcement officials embraced the program when it was suggested several years ago. It involves providing law enforcement officers whose “beats” are school hallways.

Resource officers have been a substantial help in schools, according to some educators. One important function is helping teachers and principals deal with violent, unruly students.

But the program was envisioned to be a line of defense against armed intruders such as those who, on a distressingly regular basis, massacre students and staff in some schools.

For that reason, federal funding was put in place to help school districts pay for resource officers. Ohio County has six of them, serving five schools.

But the amount of money kicked in by Washington has declined steadily. In 2010, Ohio County schools received $115,000 in federal funding. By last year the amount had declined to $30,000. The local school system picked up the remaining $200,000 in cost.

School officials seem to be in agreement that even if the resource officer program needs to be paid for entirely with local money, it will be retained. Good. That is a wise decision.

But the situation makes one wonder about federal officials who so frequently insist a sense of urgency about safeguarding students is missing. That certainly seems to be the case in Washington.