Plymouth schools are losing school resource officer due to budget cuts

Terryville High School (WFSB)

A school resource officer is being pulled from schools in Plymouth, because of money woes.

The officer was more than just another set of eyes on the school, but also developed relationships with children so they would have someone they can talk to and trust.

The Plymouth superintendent sent an email out to parents last week about the change.

“Why are we cutting school resources if there are other resources we could be cutting easily,” said Michelle Boilard, of Terryville, which is part of Plymouth.

The school resource officer is mainly stationed at Terryville High School, and would also go into the three other schools.

Back in May, the town council voted to cut one police officer from the force.

“I mean, Terryville isn't that big and their police force isn't that large so cutting one person is like cutting 10 out of Hartford, so it's not right,” said Woody Connelly, of Terryville.

The school resource officer is budgeted through the police department, not the Board of Education, so with those cuts, the police department can’t afford to station a school resource officer in the schools.

Some parents said the decision made them feel uneasy.

“School resource officers should be available for our children. How are we supposed to feel safe sending them to school? I mean, I don't understand why someone would think it's a good idea,” Boilard said.

“You know, you have to have a safe environment for these kids and cutting back is not making it a safe environment for these children,” Connelly said.

The superintendent is working with the mayor and the chief to put the officer back into the schools, and said “At this time it looks very likely that we will start the school year without an SRO in place."

Parents said they are hoping for the best.

“Guns have been a topic of discussion for a while now and I don't think it would be wise for anyone to send their kids to school without a school resource officer there. It just doesn't make any sense to me,” Boilard said.

The school resource officer also teaches the DARE program to fifth graders, so that will also be cut.

The superintendent said police will still have patrols continuing to go by the schools, and he’s looking at other ways they can afford to hire an officer for later in the year.

Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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