Lyndonville adds school resource officer on trial basis

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 April 2017 at 4:40 pm

LYNDONVILLE – The school district has boosted resources to promote safety and drug prevention, and now is adding a school resource officer on a trial basis.

The Board of Education has approved a school resource officer for the final two months of the school year. An Orleans County deputy sheriff will work fulltime out of the school district in May and June. Lyndonville will reimburse the Sheriff’s Office $8,000 per month for having a trained and qualified deputy devoted to the school district.

The Orleans County Legislature approved the agreement on Wednesday. Sheriff Randy Bower said it is a trial program that he hopes continues after the school year.

A school resource officer is specifically trained to work in schools. The officer interacts with all classes, grades K-12, and works with parents in the community.

The officer will be available to conduct any investigations on campus if necessary. The officer will be assigned to Lyndonville only and will not leave the school. A patrol car would be parked at the school around the clock as a crime deterrent. The officer may also be available at afterschool events as well. The officer will also give a weekly report to administration.

After the two-month trial, Bower and Jason Smith, the school district superintendent, will assess the needs of the district and decide if a part- or full-time school resource officer is needed. State funding may be available to offset the cost of an SRO but the state wants a five-year commitment.

The Lyndonville Board of Education also discussed other collaborations at its April 17 meeting when members of the Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (GCASA) and Orleans County Department of Mental Health spoke with the BOE.

GCASA works with Lyndonville schools on a number of programs, providing prevention and intervention. Currently, a GCASA representative works with a Lyndonville health teacher for a single-day program called SPORT, along with Project Sticker Shock and Red Watch Band.

“We really want to work with you to help at the prevention and intervention phases,” Sherri Bensley, a prevention educator at GCASA, told the BOE.

Bensley proposed that the district adds a prevention educator housed in the district one day a week. This person would be able to perform student screenings and referral services. Other services offered would be Teen Intervene, teen early intervention program; evidence-based program with elementary students; accountability circle drug/alcohol awareness program; and parent meetings regarding policies on drugs and alcohol which would include tips on how to talk to your teens about drugs and alcohol.

Mark O’Brien, director of the Orleans County Department of Mental Health, has a mental health therapist working out of the school district, an arrangement at all five school districts in the county.

The mental health therapists help students with anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. Having those personnel at schools eliminates the transportation issue for students, and also means they are out of class for less time because they don’t have to travel to the Mental Health building in Albion.

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