EDINBURGH, Ind — Edinburgh Community Schools and town officials are reaching out to people in the community to help raise the money needed to hire the district’s first school resource officer.
The school corporation recently received word that they had secured $25,000 in Indiana Secured School Safety Grant funding. The money can be used to hire and train a full-time school resource officer who will spend each day in and around Edinburgh Schools.
“This is a really nice opportunity,” said Superintendent Dr. Doug Arnold. “Not only [for] the school corporation, but the community.”
Conditions of the grant require the school district to provide a 50% match of the funding. Edinburgh Town Manager J.T. Doane says he believes the town can provide at least the $12,500 needed to cover the match. However, Arnold says he would like to raise a total of $50,000 for the new officer’s training and salary. That could mean an additional $12,500 would be needed.
“The top priority is to make sure that every student and staff member is safe and secure on a daily basis,” Dr. Arnold said. “And this will make certain that is a reality.”
While funding discussions continue, town and school officials are turning to the community and public fundraising events. Doane said a recent flag football game between Edinburgh school alumni, firefighters and other town officials raised roughly $800 toward the goal. Other events are currently being planned.
“By way of a volleyball or even maybe a 5K event,” Doane said. “So more to come on those events.”
School safety experts agree that full-time resource officers provide an extra layer of security, both inside and outside of schools. Aside from having a police presence in the school each day, resource officers are able to develop close relationships with students.
“When they’re in the school and you see somebody every day, that’s not a stranger to them,” said Edinburgh Police Interim Chief Lt. Done Little. “They’re going to be able to come forward with home problems. They’re going to come forward with maybe some school problems.”
Little also said having a full-time resource officer in Edinburgh Schools would benefit his department’s efforts throughout the town.
“School resource officer is going to be able to put together clicks, going to know groups that hang out together,” Little said. “They’re going to know the kids that are getting into trouble, which may spill out into the street.”
“When I send my kids off to school, the first thing I want to know is that they’re being safe,” said Edinburgh Senior Middle School Principal Kevin Rockey. “And we treat those kids that come here the same way and say we’re going to take care of your kids.”
School and town officials hope members of the community will see the same potential for benefits and join in the fundraising effort.
“Anytime you can have the community embrace a cause and see this collaboration between two governing bodies, in this instance the school corporation and us at town hall, certainly is very encouraging,” Doane said.
Doane and Arnold said district and town officials were also reaching out to area businesses and would welcome donations from the public. Anyone wanting to contribute to the effort can do so by reaching out to the Edinburgh Community School Corporation.