DANVILLE — District 118 school board members on Wednesday will decide whether to accept Superintendent Mark Denman’s recommendation to hire a fourth resource officer in the district.
Director of Public Safety Larry Thomason asked during a special meeting last month whether board members would be interested in having an additional school resource officer.
Denman said Friday he will recommend to the board that the district enter into an agreement with the city to contract for the additional officer who would be shared between the high school and the Kenneth D. Bailey Academy, and the officer would schedule lessons or presentations at two elementary schools each week. In addition, Denman said he will recommend the two middle school resource officers also provide a lesson or presentation at an elementary school once a week.
Denman said he is making the recommendation to help provide a secure and optimum learning environment; to provide immediate response in case of crisis; to foster positive relationships with students, staff and families; to prevent crime or delinquent behavior by juveniles; to serve as a resource for staff; to support a positive school-law enforcement partnership; and to build upon the positive results seen at Danville High School and at North Ridge and South View middle schools.
If approved, the fourth resource officer would start by December. School administrators would determine how many hours the officer would spend at each school.
Since 2003, Danville High School has had only one school resource officer, but the building is twice the size of South View and North Ridge middle schools, which have had one resource officer each since 2011.
Thomason said resource officers serve as educators, mentors, impromptu counselors and law enforcers. He believes the resource officers have made “a major, positive impact” at the middle schools, reducing the number of expulsions and disciplinary cases in a short period of time.