Violence in schools had become rampant and a cause for concern some years back. The many violent incidents which were being reported in most schools dramatically increased especially after shootings which took place in schools. To respond to this problem, some programs of school Resource officers were initiated around 1960. However, the role of SROs increased in 1990 and was backed up by the security police.

(Atkinson, p456) The main aim of SROs was to enforce laws in schools and reduce the cases of violence. School police and school security officers were also charged with the responsibility of assisting SROs in their task.There were, fears however, that school police would create an impression of “armed camp” or “prison like” kind of environment. (Atkinson, p23) How School Resource Officers Operate Majority of School Resource Officers and other personnel who maintain safety at school have actually prevented very many incidents from taking place in schools.

The function of SROs is focused on the “Triad Model”. Their role consist enforcement of law, student counseling and education related to the law.In order to fully understand the functions of SROs. and their contributions to safety, SROs together with “school –law enforcement relationships”, should be seen as playing a preventative role and not punitive or detention like role. (Atkinson, p78) Many Security Resource Officers enforce laws in schools and are drawn from county or local enforcement agencies. They are assigned to various schools after signing cooperative agreements with the education authority.

There are a host of school districts who have established departments for school police of their own. The nature of work of those officers is full time, and the functions are internal.They are given police powers and offered employment directly by district school as opposed to employment offered by the law enforcement agency which falls outside school district. (Curt Lavarello, p67) School resource officers are given firearms to enable them acquire the image of a security officer. It would be senseless to trust them with safety without a gun as it would lower the standard of security services they offer In addition it would be impossible for them protect and safeguard the lives of staff, students and even themselves.

They are security officers not consultants. (Samantha, p54) Some SROs are volunteers who have the desire to work in schools with children. For them to conduct their work efficiently, they are taken through training programs so that they acquire specialized training on how they can work in school settings and with children. SRO programs include other formal arrangements made between the school districts as well as the law enforcement agencies about selection of officers, training, funding, evaluation, supervision and related issues.

(Ken, p345)School Security Programs are initiated by the school Resource officers, as a form of security staffing in schools. These programs are more to do with in house security officers in school, or function as coordinator of district security. (Atkinson, p231) Despite their varying titles, they are responsible for safety tasks in schools, campus supervision and enforcing rules of the school. Their authority to arrest is limited depending on the qualifications and the jurisdictions. (Atkinson, p89) They are typically civilians and classified as non police and have no complete police powers.

In the majority of school systems they provide support to school operations in terms of safety support services calming disruptive students, coordinating with law enforcement officers and other functions with the end goal of maintaining safety at schools. The officers have become the “unsung heroes”. (Ken, p34) Establishing Relationships An important aspect which determines the success of SRO is cultivating good relationships with the parents, specialists, school staff and mostly students. For them to function properly, they will require the support and good will of the mentioned classes of people.For instance, an SRO must understand the contributions of school specialists for example, school nurses, guidance counselors, school psychologists, speech pathologists, school social workers, occupational therapists and physical therapists.

(Ken, p67) There should be collaboration and proper working relationships with the mentioned specialists. This is because they work directly and share personal relationships with the students and can therefore identify the areas of weakness and give solutions.For example they are able to tell the circumstances under which violence is committed by students and therefore offer the required preventative guidelines. (Samantha, p90) Parents play a key role in school community and must be actively involved in building relationships with School Resource Officers. This will enable the SRO to be more in touch with the students and the safety needs of the school. (Curt, p56) SRO should be given a chance to attend PTA meetings, conferences and the parents’ nights.

The school Resource Officer can make use of publications, brochures or some fact sheets that indicate his/her functions.The publications could be given out to the students, parents, teachers as well as other members of the community. (Samantha, p78) This will enable them to win the support of all the interest groups and ultimately curb violence in schools. Some programs are also introduced by SROs, such as school Resource Officer Program which engage the youth mentally and refrain from acts of violence. Such programs build rapport between SROs and students, contribute to the reduction of stereotypes and provide better opportunities for the youth and make them improve in schools.They also contribute to crime and delinquency prevention in schools.

(Atkinson, p177) Among the ideas used to promote student involvement by SROs are school safety surveys which involve the students surveying their peers about issues regarding school safety. Vandalism prevention is another strategy which makes use of brochures and posters to bolster the pride of the school and educate the students. (Atkinson, p67) The program involves the students in crime watch, which empowers the students to watch out for crimes or incidents which are suspicious and in turn report them to the relevant authorities.The students also get involved in drug abuse prevention meant to educate the youth on the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol.

(Curt, p88) The program gets the students to be involved in the community clean ups where they work with others to remove graffiti painted on the walls and collect rubbish. Other ideas contained in the program are monitoring which assist peers through reading, tutoring or spending time. The program has also established teen courts which are used by the students to make trial cases of their peers. (Atkinson, p22)The School Safety and the School Resource Officer The SRO is a major contributor towards the school safety planning.

SRO performs better in terms of safety if included in the planning teams since he/she can made decisions regarding the school safety. Assessments should be made on school safety in both the school and the community. (Atkinson, p678) During the assessment the SRO can give directives because the proper relationships cultivated with the students and the larger community adds credibility to his/her efforts. The school Resource Officers engages in the prevention programming through the awareness he/she has on research based programs.

Using the results from assessments the planning team and SRO can select programs appropriate to the community and school needs. There is close collaboration between the social support team and SRO who is a crucial member of interagency team. (Curt, p455) The team is composed of the school administrator, legal advisor, and school psychologist/counselor. (Samantha, p55) Social support team meets regularly to address those needs which pose risks to the youth and assist in the management of student cases individually.

School Resource Officer is also a vital factor when developing plans to respond to school crisis.The SRO may facilitate all the communications between law enforcement and the school and can assist in ensuring that the laid out plans are put into practice, not only in school but in all applicable agencies such as parents, law enforcement and media. (Atkinson, p666) Research that support the Role of SROs According to Ken Trump, who is an author and the president of National School Safety and Security Services, the survey conducted revealed that, SROs had contributed positively to the school safety. The largest survey of police officers which was assigned to the schools was done around July 2001.NASRO (National Association of School Resource Offices) made an agreement with National School Safety and Security Services to develop and make analysis of ‘61 question survey’.

During the NASRO’S Miami conference the survey was administered using one thousand SROs drawn from around 48 states in July 2001. The results showed that the police officers who are based in schools prevent school violence substantially had exceptionally good relationships with educators and students and the students volunteered information regarding school crimes which would otherwise have gone unreported. Ken, p455) According to Curt Lavarello, the survey was a validation of the practice role taken by the school resource officers and was reinforcement that only small percentage of officers based in schools described their work as being full of investigations and arrests. (Curt, p231)On the other hand, Ken Trump of NSSSS (National School Safety and Securing Services) revealed that the survey represented data collected in large-scale with concreted details on the operations of SRO program, perceptions, impact and the demographics put together in nation. Curt, p56) According to the survey, 99% of school Resource Officers reported school safety had improved since introduction of their programs.

Approximately 84% of school Resource officers believed crimes which take place in school were under reported to the police, however around 86 % of SROs reported that the presence of the security officers in schools had improved the accuracy with which school crime reporting was done. On 1 to 5 scale 1 person said SROs were poor and 5 said there were excellent.Positive relationships were reported between SROs and school administrators. (Curt, p345) Conclusion The roles played by SROs contributed not only to crime prevention but also to positive relationships between the students, community, and teachers and so on. As a result many students looked up to them as positive role models to emulate. The schools improved in their performance and conducive environment was enhanced for studies.

It is worth noting that the concept should be widely adopted since it proved to be successful and instilled obedience and a sense of respect in the students. The program deserves credibility especially in providing solutions to problems affecting the students and reinforcing law and thereby reducing lawlessness in schools. (Curt, p87) Close and positive relationships should be cultivated at all times in order to create a safe setting that is secure to prevent and intervene early before the level of crimes goes high in schools. (Samantha, p888)