‘Red Shirt’ Off-Duty Officers To Return To Schools

Off-duty police officers who provide an additional level of security to schools in the district will be returning shortly.

At a school board meeting Tuesday, Bret Apthorpe, superintendent of the Jamestown Public Schools, said the local police officers — also referred to as “red shirts” — will return to various schools in the district. The off-duty police officers have been absent for about the last three weeks due to concerns over liability coverage while not employed by the district.

“They’re an important part of our school culture because they interact with the kids a lot and the kids enjoy them,” Apthorpe said.

Apthorpe said the district had discussions with the Kendall Club, the labor union for the officers, in hopes that the “red shirts” would return after the Thanksgiving break. The superintendent said the district opted to hire the officers, which would cover them “if something happens” while they are providing security in the schools.

“Because they are our employees, then they’re protected for liability,” Apthorpe said.

During Tuesday’s meeting, fourth graders from Fletcher Elementary School took the stage in the gymnasium to showcase a Thanksgiving performance they had been working on.

In carrying over from last month’s Board Member Recognition Week, students from select schools and their parents presented a book to each board member that will now be entered into their respective school libraries bearing the name of one of the board members.

In other news, the school board approved the sale of the Crescent Street warehouse that district voters approved in October. The district said the property had not been used for a decade.

The board also discussed the increase of the minimum wage to $10.40 for most of the state, which begins Dec. 31. The board approved increasing the district’s wages to coincide with the rate hike. Among those who will see a higher rate include food service workers, clerical substitutes, custodial substitutes and seasonal building and grounds staff.

Apthorpe said the board had already prepared for the change in the 2017-18 budget