District 64 will soon be welcoming a School Resource Officer (SRO) to our middle school communities. The Board of Education at the August 28, 2017 meeting approved a one-year pilot to introduce the SRO presence to both Emerson and Lincoln.
Superintendent Laurie Heinz, Emerson Middle School Principal Jim Morrison and Lincoln Middle School Principal Tony Murray announced the new program to all middle school parents earlier this week:
The SROs are another means to help strengthen family/community partnerships that are essential to supporting District 64’s comprehensive social emotional learning curriculum for all students addressed as part of the 2020 Vision Strategic Plan.
The SRO will be working at the direction of the District and school administration, and will be treated like a member of our school staff. SROs will provide guidance to students, build positive relationships between local law enforcement and students, and offer informal counseling while also serving as resource to staff at our schools, to name just a few activities. Other goals for the SRO program are to encourage student citizenship and promote school safety through open dialogue. The SRO program will provide students with a voice around the issues that impact their schools and communities.
SROs already have been a part of the local high school communities for many years. District 64 also has had neighborhood beat officers assigned to each of our schools for several years, who have served as a liaison between our schools and the police on an ongoing basis.
We anticipate launching the program in late September. The pilot year will work as follows:
- Emerson’s SRO program will be supported by an officer from the Niles Police Department through a new Community Policing Program within the Crime Prevention Bureau. Niles will dedicate an officer two and a half days a week for up to four hours a day.
- At Lincoln, the Park Ridge Police Department is able to dedicate a core group of a few officers to provide an SRO presence two days per week for up to four hours per day.
Also this year, District 64 is implementing new curricular materials to support social emotional learning, called Second Step. As the pilot gets underway, we will be presenting more information about Second Step and the SRO program at our upcoming PTO meetings: