Schools get five new resource officers

    Five additional school resource officers will roam the halls of Cherokee County Schools this fall, protecting students and teachers from harm.
    The school system applied to the N.C. Department of Public Instruction for seven officers and were awarded a grant for $199,000, enough for five additional SROs, Superintendent Jean Conley said.
    “This will give us a total of nine [SRO officers]. We will be three short of having one at every campus,” she said.
    There is one school resource officer for both Hiwassee Dam Elementary/Middle and Hiwassee Dam High schools because they are housed in the same building. Conley said she isn’t yet sure how they will work out distribution of SROs as they look at the distances between campuses.
    “To get an SRO for all schools would have been close to $600,000 if we had to foot the entire bill,” Conley said. “We are going to hope we will have [the new] SROs ready for the first day of school. We will advertise immediately.”
    The school system has applied for a grant of $50,000 to fund one additional counselor, which would give them a counselor at every school. The grant would cover salary, benefits and some supplies. Conley said they expect to hear about that grant in September.
    “We are thrilled to be able to increase our [SRO] force and to add a teaching component back to the classrooms,” she said.
    “The SROs will have interaction with all kids.”
    Conley wants the SROs to do the Drug Abuse Resistance Education, or DARE, curriculum and have classroom time with all students.
    “I am very grateful to our state superintendent for distributing dollars this way,” she said.