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As a parent and citizen in the Basehor-Linwood School District I have concerns of having an SRO in our schools.
I have witnessed instances where minor incidents were elevated and then charged as criminal cases. The SRO will be required, through his/her commission as a law enforcement officer, to bring charges where the district may let "small" things go, and allow the focus to be on the lesson learned. Teaching children should always be the primary focus of our schools. The school has at its disposal several avenues of "punishment", short of a criminal case being filed, such as punishment by suspension, etc. Oftentimes, the lessons children learn through those techniques have a much greater impact than those that will ever be learned by thrusting them in the criminal justice system which is replete with its own problems, of which we are all aware. The school will always have, as an option, the reporting of any incident to the police department if such actions by students require such reporting.
Also, as a parent, I have seen instances where my own children could have been charged with a crime. I am also aware of instances where there have been simple school yard fights where a child then gets charged with a crime where an SRO is on duty and feels compelled to do so. Oftentimes, the bully, the actual one who incited the fight receives no punishment, as the bully is oftentimes the one who received the "first-blow" as it were from a child who has been bullied to the point of needing to protect himself/herself. I am also aware of a case where one kid, (aged 10, the legal age where a child can be charged in Kansas) was charged with battery for throwing dirt at another kid. This certainty should have been handled at the school level. It was a travesty to see that 10 year old child go through a criminal justice system based on nothing more than a fight in a sandbox. I can't imagine how putting that 10 year old though that scenario was beneficial to anyone involved.
I can see how the district would be seduced by the offer of a SRO being in the school for free. However, this decision should not be based solely on money. The Basehor-Linwood school district is one with good kids, good teachers, good administrative staff, and a positive learning environment. The general, majority consensus of the parents is that things at the school, the way they are, without a SRO are working in the very best interest of the children.
At this point in time, the Basehor-Linwood School District does not have the necessity of the inner city schools. Do we really want to react as if we do at this point?
I do not believe this is one of those simply "administrative" type decisions that should be made without at least a chance for parents to voice their concerns, which are substantial and valid.
2910 N. 155th Street
Basehor, KS 66007
I believe I would like our school district to continue to be proactive. I like the idea of not waiting until we "need" someone on site. Like other schools in our area, we would benefit from having another trained, qualified adult in our schools. I see no negative.
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