Armed School Resource Officer To Be Hired

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Nelsonville-York City Schools is one step closer to becoming the first district in Athens County to have an armed school resource officer just months after of a mass shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut left 20 children dead.

Nelsonville City Council's finance committee decided to make a recommendation to the full council to hire the new full-time officer Tuesday night after meeting with the district's superintendent and city's police chief.  A resolution on the issue will be introduced at the next regular meeting.

The committee met with Chief Jason Wallace and Nelsonville-York Superintendent Mick McClelland to determine whether an armed resource officer would create a more safe and secure environment on school grounds.

McClelland said the school district has looked into hiring a resource officer in recent years, but has never had the financial resources to do it.

According to McClellan, after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, Wallace presented him with a sample contract for an officer to be stationed at the school.

The city and the district will split the cost of the officer's annual salary. The resource officer will be on the city's payroll and at the end of the year the school district will reimburse the city for portions of the officer's salary but just how much each organization would pay has yet to be determined.

Police Chief Wallace said he would recommend a list of potential candidates that are currently on his force to Nelsonville-York's Board of Education so that they can set up interviews.

Wallace also said there is some extra training that the chosen candidate would need to go through to become a school resource officer.

Besides increasing safety on school grounds, school officials said they hope to also see a decrease in bad behavior by students with a police presence during the school day.