By Jamie Wiggan
The Sto-Rox school district is looking to address escalating safety concerns by hiring new security specialists for all three buildings.
School directors approved the new positions and authorized the beginning of the hiring process during their April 28 business meeting.
“We know there are safety concerns,” said President Cameron Culliver. “We have to be proactive and not reactive.”
Culliver, who has a background in military security, said he wasn’t able to disclose extensive details, but emphasized the district is looking to hire security officers who will also be able to connect well with students.
“We want our kids to connect and not feel threatened when they see a badge,” he said.
A series of critical and fatal shootings in recent years has raised concerns about student safety at the district. In November a high school student was shot dead on the way home from school, and just last month gunfire left another high schooler in critical condition.
In response, Assistant to the Superintendent Megan Van Fosson penned a letter encouraging parents to talk to their children about what happened and pointed to crisis support the district made available in the aftermath.
“We were saddened to learn about the shooting of one of our students yesterday,” the letter stated. “Our thoughts and prayers are with our students and their families.”
These concerns were placed at the forefront of a state-mandated recovery plan, approved in April, laying out steps to get the district back on sound financial footing.
The plan emphasized the need to recruit students back from neighboring charter and cyber options, and identified safety fears as a key deterrent for many students and families.
Culliver said the officers will “have the ability to be armed if need be.”
“We want a safe, secure environment,” he said.