Eaton Schools to hire two SROs

By Kelsey Kimbler -

EATON — During its meeting on Monday, Aug. 12, Eaton Community Schools Board of Education approved a resolution to hire two School Resource Officers.

At the end of the meeting, Board President Lisa Noble brought up the topic, which was not on the agenda. The resolution authorizes the superintendent and treasurer to pursue the hiring of two School Resource Officers (SRO) for Eaton Community School District.

Before this motion, Superintendent Jeff Parker appealed to the board about this issue during his Superintendent’s Report.

“In light of what has happened, again and close to home, I would like to talk — and I had some public feedback — about potential school resource officers and the potential of getting a couple of those, one on each campus is ideal. I would like the board to think about that,” he said.

“I did, today at 2 p.m., have a meeting with [Eaton Police Division Chief Steve Hurd] and another officer. We talked last week a little bit as well. It is something that we’ve talked about before and something I’d like the board to think about and consider.

At press time, Superintendent Parker added, “I am extremely pleased with the BOE’s decision to contract with the Eaton Police Department for two School Resource Officers (SROs). I am also extremely pleased and impressed with the relationship we have had with Eaton PD throughout the past year and their response to implementing SROs.

“Last August when I became Superintendent at Eaton, we had a discussion regarding several issues surrounding School Safety. The BOE identified then that School Safety is a ‘fluid’ issue that is constantly being scrutinized. There were different times throughout the past school year that we had conversations regarding various aspects of school safety. Those conversations have led to us implementing preventative measures that not everyone will notice and that we will not necessarily publicize. Those conversations, along with the most recent events in the nation, also ultimately led to the decision to add SROs. Although their may be varying views on how best to keep our students and staff safe, I can attest to the fact that the number one priority for every individual member of the Eaton BOE has been and will continue to be the physical and mental safety of Eaton students and staff.”

Chief Hurd added, “The Eaton Police Department and the Eaton Schools have a great working relationship. We have continuously discussed ways to enhance the safety of the students and faculty. Putting SRO’s in the schools is a great next step.”

Superintendent Parker also discussed transportation and facility updates during the meeting.

He began by recognizing Director of Operations Matthew Robbins for his hard work.

“His tempo never slows down. He, maintenance, and custodians — I just want to say — have done an outstanding job,” Parker said.

He also updated the board on the school’s security camera project. The project is completed at Hollingsworth East Elementary and training was held on the software last week. All administrators have an app on their phone to access the system. He added, the high school will have that ability once their cameras are installed.

The high school security camera project will start on Aug. 26. The district received a School Safety Grant from the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation for this project and those funds had to be deposited before starting.

“We’re excited about that,” he said.

During the meeting, the board approved the agreement with XTek Partner for security camera hardware, software integration, installation, and warranty for Eaton High School.

Next, Parker discussed transportation. During the meeting, the board approved bus routes and walk zones for the 2019-2020 school year as submitted by the Director of Operations.

“One of the things we’ve talked about throughout the year was our eligibility zone, who we are transporting and all that. [Director of Operations Matt Robbins] was able to work some things so our walk zone is the maximum at 1.5 miles. [Robbins] looked at some safety things to the best of our ability. The elementary maximum zone is still at one mile, but we are going to be able to reduce man hours by four and a quarter hours. Mileage is slightly up each day by 5.8 miles. With all of that said, there is going to be 101 more students eligible for transportation,” Parker said.

“It is 20 more elementary students that will be eligible, and 81 middle school and high school. That is at minimal cost, quite frankly if any, but maybe a couple thousand for the entire year to transport 100 students potentially.”

Eaton Board of Education will be holding a Special Board Meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 20 in the Board of Education Office at 4 p.m.

By Kelsey Kimbler

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH