By Meg Dickens
Violent events at public schools have been an increasing subject of concern over the last decade or so. Worries specifically based around mass shootings have ballooned to the point where multiple outlets are offering ideas on how to talk to and comfort students worried about these types of events. One of the many popular prevention methods elicited to protect students from dangers is School Resource Officers (SROs). The Johnson County School Board members took a few moments to recognize these protectors and assure locals that their children are protected.
“I think this is especially important given all the things that have happened in schools across the nation,” explained Chairman Howard Carlton. “I think we’re very fortunate to have your program and have you all working with us. We’ve done a lot of things to secure our schools over the last couple of years. Watching the news, there are a lot of things we can’t talk about, or we don’t want to talk about, that I think provide an additional level of security.”
Johnson County Schools originally received its Safe Schools-School Resource Officer Grant in 2019 and has kept the SRO program funded ever since. The Johnson County Sheriff’s Department assists with supplies and training to help cover the local cost in-kind. The SROs and school system work closely with Sheriff Eddie Tester to ensure everything is in order. Previous reports from within the schools show that the officers are beloved by many.
Since the program began, it has continued to grow and change. Its newest recruit, an additional officer added to the program, actually graduated from training on June 9. Officer Mark Gladden announced that Johnson County is also creating some firsts for SROs in this part of the state.
“We also have developed an SRO training program for inside the county,” Gladden explained. “It’s the only one in Northeast Tennessee. It’s a 40-hour-post certified course, and they will all be going through that the last week of this month.”
Many details related to school safety cannot or should not be shared for safety reasons. What can be shared is that the SROs are covering the schools in the area, are about to receive extra training over summer break, are growing in ranks, and there are additional means of security to protect local youth
For more information about the Johnson County School Board and its meeting schedule, visit jocoed.net. Meetings are streamed live or available on-demand on the Johnson County Schools TN Video Youtube channel.