Wednesday's Editorial

The need for SROs in elementary schools

Columbine, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, Red Lake, Oikos.

Each is the name of a school, from elementary to the university level, where students and teachers were killed. In all, 87 innocents died from those five schools alone. Columbine involved two students armed with everything from guns to grenades. In the others, the killers acted alone.

The results of these atrocities have led to us having armed deputies and police officers patrol our schools. And that should give us pause. Even our schools are no longer safe.

Who would ever dream a high-school student would kill 20 children in a small town in Connecticut? It means that Coweta County is not immune to the threat. Fortunately, our school system, working with the Newnan Police Department and the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office, has not been idle in this matter. For years, law enforcement personnel have patrolled our high schools and then middle schools.

And now, our elementary schools.

Recently, the Coweta County School System approached local law enforcement about adding School Resource Officers (SROs) to the elementary schools. The plan was approved by the Newnan City Council and Coweta County Board of Commissioners. One Newnan officer will be assigned to the city’s elementary schools, while two will work with those in the unincorporated areas. Two of the SROs will also become Project Safe instructors, joining the existing four. With that combination, law enforcement authorities expect to have uniformed officers at the 19 elementary schools for at least half a day three to four days a week.

It is an expensive decision. Yet it is also a proactive one and one we support. It is a sign of our society that killers have no boundaries.

We must do what we can to protect our children, even if it means officers patrolling grade schools.

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