School resource officers cut from Tville city schools - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

School resource officers cut from Tville city schools

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THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) -

By LeiLani Golden - bio | email

THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) –School resource officers will no longer patrol the halls of Thomasville City schools.

City leaders decided to cut the officers provided by the Thomasville Police Department to save money after they say the school system refused to foot half the bill.

Now, some parents and students are concerned about the future of the schools' safety.

The sudden elimination of two resource officers came as a shock for Thomasville City schools. School leaders say during a meeting about re-negotiating the cost of game security, city officials made the removal of SROs a contingency for lower security costs.

"I didn't feel that it was appropriate to associate those two," says Thomasville City School Superintendent Sabrina Boykins-Everett. "This discussion, the timing could not have been more inappropriate in my opinion simply because it's not in the billing cycle for the school system."

The city government began funding the SROs at Thomasville High and MacIntyre Park Middle Schools nearly eight years ago. Not providing the officers will save the city $100,000 a year.

This is where the Thomasville High school resource officer usually parks. It's empty now and next week, it'll remain that way. But the city school superintendent hopes that will all change very soon.

"What I would like to see is an opportunity to revisit the SRO as one of the entities we offer our students," Boykins-Everett explained. "School safety is very important. Fortunately, we don't have a dilemma or crisis with our student discipline. Our students are well behaved generally."

But some students don't agree.

"I'm not gonna feel really safe without a resource officer because lots of stuff happens here," Thomasville High senior Ciara Ross admits.

Her friend Audreka Davis agrees, "Things are getting kind of crazy in Thomasville. Stuff is happening that I never would have thought would in Thomasville. And I think he would be a help to Thomasville city schools with gun violence and everything going on."

They say if there's an emergency, having an officer on the other side of the school is better than one on the other side of town.

School officials say administrators will handle minor incidents at schools.

They'll call law enforcement in emergencies.

The system also switched from Thomasville police officers to Thomas County Sheriff's deputies for game security to save money.

Thomasville's city manager, Steve Sykes, says the city made several offers to the school system: If the school system would pay $50,000 annually toward SROs, the city would provide one SRO at no charge for after-school events.

Another option was to reduce SROs to one at a cost of $50,000, with the school system paying $25,000 annually and receiving one officer at no charge for after-hours activities.

Thomas County schools pay the Thomas County Sheriff's Office $79,000 a year for two SROs while the county pays the other 25%.

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