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Whitney Point Board of Education Approves School Resource Officer for District

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Nine years after School Resource Officers were taken out of Broome County schools due to budget cuts, the Whitney Point Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday night to bring an SRO back to the district.

“Everybody wants their kids to come to school and be safe, and so do we.”

Patricia Follette, Superintendent of the Whitney Point Central School District, said the officer will make the three schools in the district safer, and provide the nearly 1,500 students security.

“Have a law enforcement presence in our school, but really work to support the community and support our students, make our schools safer.”

The district currently has a security officer who monitors security cameras, administers drills, and oversees security procedures.

The difference between the security officer and an SRO, is SRO's are armed.

“I feel good about it. My kids, my nieces all need to be protected. It’s nice to have that resource in our school to protect everybody and be aware of what’s going on in our school.”

Parents like Allison Canniff, whose son is a Whitney Point senior, is thankful for the extra piece of mind.

“I feel a little bit more secure sending them to school knowing someone has their back.”

Follette said the board has been working with the District Attorney’s office for over a year, coming up with a contract that worked for both parties.

“We’ve been working on it for a while. It just serendipitously turned up on our board agenda tonight.”

Tonight’s meeting comes almost two weeks after a student was arrested on a Whitney Point school bus for making threatening comments.

The district faced criticism from parents over a lack of transparency. They didn’t release information until two days after the arrest.

Some parents stood up during the time for public comment, voicing their frustrations.

“I’m very disgruntled with the lack of communication about what happened, when it happened, and the follow-up.”

In response, the district is holding a public forum on March 7th starting at 6:30 p.m.

“We’ll be having a panel of people, and there will be some pre-set questions that I think are on people’s minds. We’ll also be giving people opportunities to voice some of their ideas and concerns. School safety is a community issue and we want to make sure that our community is involved.” - Patricia Follette, Superintendent of the Whitney Point Central School District

The board says they will start with one SRO but will have discussions about adding more in the future.