When students return to Osceola County school campuses, hopefully in August as scheduled for the 2020-21, parents and the community can feel secure in knowing the safety of those schools has been accounted for.

At Monday’s School Board meeting, the Osceola County School Board renewed its contracts with the Kissimmee Police Department, St. Cloud Police Department and the Osceola County School Board for School Resource Officers.

The cost to the school district is roughly $3 million, and it’s money the state mandates is spent after the 2018 school shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School.

The Sheriff’s Office will provide support to 33 schools in the unincorporated county, and Kissimmee and St. Cloud Police will provide 11 staffers each to city schools. The district pays the large portion of the officers’ salaries and benefits. The police agencies cover the officers’ equipment at training.

If the school year opens with students still on remote learning, the SROs will continue working within their agencies until campuses are open to students and staff.

So what is the definition of what School Resource Officers are and do? Here it is directly from the Sheriff’s Office:

The School Resource Officer is a certified law enforcement officer who is permanently assigned, on a full-time basis, to provide coverage to a school or a set of schools.

The School Resource Officer supports and facilitates the educational process within the Osceola County Public School System by providing a safe and secure environment through building and establishing meaningful relationships with students and staff and proactively interacting with the school community to ensure the enforcement of state laws, preservation of public order, protection of life and the prevention, detection, or investigation of crime. The deputy will work effectively with students, parents, school personnel and community agencies to support teaching and learning in the schools. The School Resource Officer will patrol the property to protect students, staff and visitors from physical harm and prevent loss to district property resulting from criminal activity.

Thanks to the work done by the county’s School Resource Officers, who make a positive difference in the lives of Osceola County’s students!