WEST MILTON — The Milton-Union school district has hired a private company to provide a school safety officer, shifting the focus of the role from education to school security.
At a cost of $73,097 for the 2018-19 school year, G2G Solutions will provide a full-time safety officer for the district. This officer is not a school resource officer, Superintendent Brad Ritchey said.
“The emphasis is on safety and security, supervision and monitoring, versus the classroom educational component,” he explained.
Ritchey said the district felt like the community expects more security after several mass school shootings across the country. Which means, “for better or worse,” shifting away from a traditional school resource officer with a safety curriculum, he said.
The district weighed its options with local law enforcement, before contracting with the same company that provides officers for Vandalia-Butler Schools.
According to Ritchey, both the Miami County Sheriff’s Office and the West Milton Police Department will continue to have a presence on campus. A sheriff’s deputy will spend several hours throughout the week visiting the schools, he said.
“Just to have an additional presence in the building and to demonstrate to our students that help and security might come in a variety of different uniforms and appearances,” he added. “It won’t necessarily be the same person every day, we have just had a really great stretch of sheriff’s deputies that have volunteered to be here. Some have been repeat visitors.”
Ritchey added that West Milton’s police department has also had a daily presence on campus this school year.
“Whether it’s in a vehicle out front monitoring traffic on Milton-Potsdam Road or coming in to the building and walking the halls,” he said.
Both agencies and G2G Solutions have also been in contact, Ritchey said.
Ritchey said that hiring G2G Solutions cost “a little bit more” than the district had previously spent on a school resource officer, but explained that the district had budgeted for an increase in safety spending in anticipation of hiring a full-time officer.
“It’s just one more thing, right? We think we have a pretty safe building, but if you feel like you can do one more thing to increase safety and security, I think the perception out there right now is, why wouldn’t you try to do that?” he said.
Reach Cecilia Fox at firstname.lastname@example.org.