COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA, WCBD) – Over 200 new school resource officers will soon be placed at schools across the state that are currently without coverage, which includes 21 new officers to be added here in the Lowcountry.
According to a news release, State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman announced Thursday the funding of 205 new SROs, which was appropriated by the South Carolina General Assembly for the 2019-20 fiscal year.
All 81 traditional public school districts, as well as the Erskine Charter Institute and S.C. Public Charter School District will receive funds to pay for one to four new officers, depending on the district’s need.
“There is no issue more important than the safety and well-being of our students and teachers,” Spearman said. “School resource officers are a deterrent to violence within the school building and their training and response to crime is an invaluable asset that allows educators to focus on instruction. The funding of these 205 officers puts us within reach of meeting our goal for having a SRO in every school.”
According to the release, the amount funded is based on the cost of the salary and benefits for a full-time SRO provided by the district’s local law enforcement agencies. The total funding awarded was $11,864,005.
In 2018, Spearman, along with Gov. Henry McMaster, SC Law Enforcement Chief Mark Keel and the S.C. Department of Mental Health set a school safety vision that included having an SRO in every school, as well as a mental health counselor in every school with resources and training for students, educators and communities.
According to the release, the General Assembly also provided $2.2 million in additional funds to hire more mental health counselors.
Here in the Lowcountry several school districts will benefit from the SRO funding. Those school systems include:
|SCHOOL DISTRICT:||OFFICERS FUNDED:|
|Berkeley County School District||4|
|Charleston County School District||2|
|Colleton County School District||4|
|Dorchester District 2||1|
|Dorchester District 4||2|
|Georgetown County School District||4|
|Williamsburg County School District||4|
To see the full list of schools that will receive SRO funding in the rest of the state, click here.