Fayette County Schools to hire two school safety officers | #schoolsaftey

FAYETTEVILLE, WV (WVNS) — Keeping students safe is a priority around the nation and the state. In Fayette County, the board of education plans to follow the lead of school districts across the state by hiring two school safety officers. The officers will be retired law enforcement agents whom the school board will pay to travel around the county schools, as needed.

Fayette County Schools Superintendent, Gary Hough said on Monday, May 6, 2024, the school district will pay the officers around $60,000 annually from upcoming levy funds. The funds were expected to be available on July 1, 2024.

The move is a solution to a limited budget, which does not allow for prevention resource officers, or PRO officers to be placed in every school.

PRO officers are employed by local police departments and placed in a number of schools. They have police power and can make arrests and investigate crimes committed by students and staff.

Fayette County Schools reimburses the department for the PRO officers’ salaries, with the exception of Fayetteville Police Department.

Hough said FPD places a PRO officer at a local school free of charge to the school district.

“We knew that resources, just like anything else, there’s limited budgets and you have to operate within that budget,” said Hough. “How do you do this and do it effectively, with the resources that are provided? And this is what we come up with it, that we feel like is a good plan.”

He said the levy funds will also be used to expand the coverage area of existing PRO officers, in addition to the hiring of the two school safety officers.

School safety officers are specifically present to protect teachers and students and serve in a security role.

One of the school security officers will be primarily placed in the Meadow Bridge district.

“We’ll have one that we rove, to all of our locations, and then, basically, by doing that, we cover everything in this county,” said Hough. “We have security officers available to every spot in this county.”

He said the school safety officers will be hired from among retired law enforcement officers who are legally permitted to be armed.

In Kanawha County, which borders Fayette County, Kanawha County Schools officials will hire twelve school safety officers for the next school year. Kanawha County Schools Executive Director of Safety and Security, Keith Vititote said the officers may travel to different schools instead of being assigned to just one school.

He emphasized the role of school safety officers is strictly for protecting those inside the schools.

“The bottom line is that they are there to protect students and staff,” said Vititote. “We thank voters for the opportunity to include this additional layer of security.”

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