Don't put armed officers in schools' front offices

Posted12/4/2018 1:00 AM

I am a Palatine resident, parent, an ESP member and a District 15 employee. I work in a school that has a School Resource Officer.

He is a valued member of our team. We count on him for many things -- greeting students getting off and on the buses, contacting some parents, having a presence in the hallways and cafeteria and helping with discipline. I feel safe with him in our building.

But he is busy doing things throughout the school, and is seldom in the front office. I have never worked in an elementary school so I cannot attest to how they would use a police officer.

But I know how front offices work. We all have meetings/memos with the District 15 administration and the Palatine and Rolling Meadows police. We are all taught to work the same way, including office tasks, safety and security. We have drills on a regular basis. And, we also run the front office.

I don't believe having a retired police officer in the front office as a replacement for a building secretary or office clerical assistant is the answer. We are very busy, but all 40 or so of us know how to act and react.

Replacing a capable, trained individual who works closely with students, staff, parents, administration and the community with a retired police officer, who might be called to assist elsewhere in the building, is not the answer.

Have them work in the same capacity as our trained SRO if you feel this type of position is necessary. Don't belittle the importance of the front office workers. Don't put the retired cop, or his gun, in the front office. Don't think they are going to wipe noses, take lunch money, answer questions, enroll families or work on scheduling.

If you feel the need, use them as a retired SRO and pay them accordingly with my tax dollars.

Colleen Butterly


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