Schools across the country can’t find enough resource officers

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Many job sectors are currently struggling to hire people, and school resources, or SROs, are no different.

Schools across the country are struggling to find people to protect students. There weren’t enough agents to cover four schools in South Carolina’s Lexington-Richland School District 5, so the district uses a private security company to make up for it.

“We recognize they don’t have the full training of an SRO, but I’d rather have armed security there than no one,” said Dr. Akil Ross, the District Superintendent.

An SRO watches students at a school in South Carolina’s Lexington-Richland District 5 during lunch.
(Austin Westfall/Fox News)

Why are private security not as ideal as SROs? Superintendent Ross Says SROs Continue special training to work with children.

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“How to deal with stress, how to deal with the social-emotional problems. And how to work with those students,” Ross said.

School districts in states like Oregon, New Mexico, Tennessee and Georgia reported SRO deficits at some point this year. Local law enforcement agencies generally struggle to hiring new officers. The National Association of School Resource Officers says that most SROs are local agencies.

“These are experienced officers who volunteer for these assignments. Just like an officer would volunteer for a detective assignment,” said NASRO Director Mo Canady, who oversaw an SRO program in Alabama for 12 years.

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Districts in several states reported SRO shortages sometime in 2022.

Districts in several states reported SRO shortages sometime in 2022.
(Austin Westfall/Fox News)

Candy calls this personnel crisis unprecedented. He encourages everyone current SRO consider talking to their colleagues.

“The SROs can be some of their peers’ best recruiters,” he said.

Canady says the police are not seen in a positive light, which could lead to fewer of them. Superintendent Ross is ready to face the long-term SRO shortfalls.

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Local Sheriff's Deputies are volunteer SROs in Irmo, SC.

Local Sheriff’s Deputies are volunteer SROs in Irmo, SC.
(Austin Westfall/Fox News)

“If I have to go with private security, if I have to go with soldiers, I want to do what it takes,” Ross said.

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Ross says the district is committed to spending millions of dollars on hardening its campuses, which could mean reinforcing entrances and exits and installing metal detectors.



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