Survey about adding armed Student Resource Officer at Potsdam Central draws mixed reaction from parents
Saturday, January 20, 2018 - 8:45 am

By MATT LINDSEY

POTSDAM -- A survey sent out to parents asking if they had any interest in learning more about a Student Resource Office (SRO) drew mixed results, according to Potsdam Central School Superintendent Joann Chambers.

“We specifically didn’t want to ask ‘yes or no’ — we wanted to engage the parents,” she said.

If PCS adds the officer, they would be the only school in St. Lawrence County to have one.

Several St. Lawrence County school districts in the past have had an SRO in their buildings including Norwood-Norfolk and Parishville-Hopkinton schools. Malone is the only nearby district that now has an SRO.

Some were in favor of hiring an officer and some were not. The reasons why people did not support an SRO were diverse.

“There was a group in favor and a group who did not support the idea,” Chambers said.

Chambers said some felt that having an armed office was not a safe idea at all. Others felt the school was safe enough and there was no need.

Another group of parents felt that school money should be spent in other areas first.

“We need to have discussion with the community and reach a consensus,” Chambers said.

She stressed that the BOE members want to represent the wishes of the community.

The Potsdam Central PTSA will sponsor a community forum on school safety Monday, Feb. 5 at 6:30 p.m. in the A.A. Kingston Middle School L.G.I.R.

At this meeting, the school administration will provide information about district and building-level school safety plans, discuss safety drills, and share details about security systems already in place.

Chambers said the forum will discuss all safety issues at the school, not just an SRO.

“We do proactive work to help students — with everything from physical safety to mental safety too,” she said. “I feel like we do a good job with that.”

There will be an opportunity for parents to ask questions and provide feedback to the Board of Education and administration.