MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — The Madison County School System says it’s in need of more school resource officers (SROs).
The school district is made up of 29 campuses and currently is in need of 11 resource officers.
Madison County Schools says SRO programs that are implemented and sustained through a well-conceived, organized and comprehensive process can help prevent school-based violence. The school district says students and families deserve it.
“We believe that every school in our district has a right to safety and secure environments.” Madison County School Board President Nathan Curry said. “Our children deserve to know that when they go to schools, our families do, that they’re reasonably safe from harm.”
He said providing that through an SRO program is an important goal for the district, all they need is a plan.
So having an SRO is a valuable target and a valuable goal for us to achieve,” Curry said. “We can get there in the near term it’s just coming up with the capacity.”
While Madison County is one of the least funded school districts in Alabama, they are in top 20 in academics. Now school board members say as the school district continues to grow, the need for more schools and more SROs also grows with it.
“We need to, as a county, understand what type of revenue we are bringing in and look at that at a local level what can we do,” Madison County School Board Member Heath Jones said. “Whether that’s a fee or a tax or some way that goes towards education, I’m not lobbying for that, but it’s just where we are right now. What kind of education do you want the students of Madison County to have?”
The county’s current SROs are funded by the sheriff’s office and the school district. The district said getting more officers requires funding, training and willing law enforcement. Currently, they’ve allocated 1 million dollars within their education budget which is currently being reviewed by the legislature.
Yet, some parents say SROs should be a state issue.
“I think an SRO at every school should be something the states looking at,” Emily Jones, who is part of a group called Moms for Liberty said. “I applaud that our local school boards are looking at ways to fix that it needs to be a broader issue.”
Jones said other states are looking at the problem on a larger scale and Alabama should as well.
“Tennessee’s been looking at how to fund that from a state perspective to make sure that every school within the entire state has an SRO,” she said. “I don’t understand know why Alabama is not looking at that. We’ve got additional funding in our educational trust fund that they’re looking to reduce and spend on different things across the state and school resource officers are not on that list.”
The school system said that currently every school in the district is covered by an SRO. It said the issue is currently SROs are having to share campuses and the district would prefer to have one SRO per campus.