Show Your Appreciation for School Resource Officers On February 15
School Resource Officers (SROs) and School Safety Employees (SSEs) often go unrecognized. The Maryland Center for School Safety hopes to change this, by encouraging everyone to celebrate SRO Appreciation Day on February 15th. This national recognition celebrates the work of SROs and SSEs creating positive school climates for Maryland students. They strive to keep outside dangers from coming into schools while also connecting students with resources, creating a positive environment for learning, and building relationships with students, staff and caregivers.
Michael Rudinski, Training Specialist with MCSS, has provided training to approximately 1,250 individuals who have become SROs and SSEs. Individuals participate in a 70-hour training course, which includes, among other things, specific training on de-escalation techniques, disability/diversity awareness, implicit bias, and restorative approaches. These safety officials focus on prevention, awareness, resources, and crisis intervention every day while working in Maryland schools.
Mr. Rudinski says he is incredibly impressed with SRO and SSE candidates. “The officers are there because they love children, want to make a difference, and are excited to be SROs and SSEs.”
In fact, one of his newly appointed SROs, Officer Kamrhen Parks of the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office, saved the life of a student in the cafeteria just two weeks after completing SRO training. Officer Parks saw Luca Craun choking in the lunchroom. He quickly came to the student’s aid and successfully performed the Heimlich Maneuver, saving the student’s life.
SROs are unique in their ability to engage with students, and learn specific safety details that are important to a particular school. Chris Evans, Prince George’s County SRO, loves interacting with his students and has a unique friend, K9 Officer Nola, who shares his passion for school safety. He says students look forward to seeing Nola each day, and the dog has a calming effect over everyone at the school. Nola approaches everyone as if they are her best friend and she is delighted to see them. Her presence brings the school community together.
In coming months, you will see a new video series from MCSS featuring the many outstanding accomplishments of Maryland SROs and SSEs.
Mr. Rudinski says it is important to remember not all SRO stories are newsworthy. In fact, when a school safety official has done their job well, they go unnoticed. The prevention of emergency events and crimes is something the public will not see. That they often go unnoticed is why it is important to recognize them for their daily commitment to school safety. MCSS encourages students, faculty and community members to take the opportunity on February 15th to thank their School Security team.
Share your photos of and experiences with your officers using the hashtags #SROsAreValuable #SRO and #SafeSchoolsMD. Below are some previous SRO and SSE posts.
Images captured from social media