Recent school shootings prove that having a school resource officer in a school can save lives. Berkeley County Schools have less than one School Resource Officer for every two schools. In the third and final part of our News 2 Investigates series, we talk to some people who may be able to help fix this problem.
Boulder Bluff Elementary in Goose Creek is miles away from the nearest school resource officer. James Motes’ grandson attends Boulder Bluff. He says he wants to see an officer assigned to the school. “I just wish that the authorities whether they be state, local, city or whatever, would step up to the base. Summey in North Charleston has. If he can do it, how come the rest can do it?”
Goose Creek Mayor Michael Heitzler is also a retired elementary school principal. Goose Creek has only 3 school resource officers for their 9 schools. “Certainly, we would like to have many, many more. I think the responsibility for funding and providing the resource officers lie with not just the city officials, but within the school district and the state of South Carolina.”
He said he plans to bring this issue up to city council. “They share with me concerns for schools, the safety of our schools, and that’s something that we should take up at budget time.” He plans discuss that during their budget meeting in the summer.
Many of the elementary schools without officers in Berkeley County are in unincorporated Berkeley County. We spoke with Berkeley County Councilman Tim Callanan. He suggested that there may be ways to have one or two armed people in those schools without hiring additional officers. “It would make sense to see if you can get folks who are teachers or administrators in a building, to possibly give them a bonus, let’s say $5000, and pay for their training to become auxiliary deputies, that way you would have that necessary person on campus.”
He said the school board would need to decide the details, but the county may be able to provide some funding to make that happen.
News 2 is going to keep in touch with elected officials in Berkeley County as well as the school district, and we will let you know if additional school resource officers are added.