Clymer Central School To Consider Appointing School Resource Officer

Clymer’s Board of Education discussed the possibility of appointing an SRO at their most recent meeting. P-J photo by Sara Holthouse

CLYMER — Clymer Central School board members are considering their options when it comes to possibly appointing a school resource officer.

At the most recent Board of Education meeting, the board decided they would be for appointing an SRO, but they also had a lot of questions as to how it all works. Clymer used to have an SRO, but it has been a long time since one has been in the school. Panama Central School appointed one at their last meeting, and Superintendent Beth Olson said they are working on getting her onboarded because the officer will be present at some future Clymer, Sherman, Panama events. Olson said she has also talked with a police officer recently hired as SRO for Bemus Point.

“I asked them, ‘What do you do all day?'” Olson said. “Because, that’s what I am struggling with, how is your time best being used? He said it’s really been a work in progress. They have two buildings, so he has been rotating and been there for arrivals, dismissals, lunches, but it’s very clear, he is not there to be the disciplinarian.”

Olson said the focus for the school resource officer should be to build relationships with students and teachers, but that there is a lot of idle time for them. Clymer has been working on preventative measures, and Olson said she thought they were doing a lot to hit on those measures, including through working with the Chautauqua County Emergency Services Department and the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office, along with the Say Something Anonymous Reporting System. Olson added that a school resource officer has not been built into the budget for the year, but the conversations around it need to continue, especially focusing on what the school will get out of it.

Another concern is that the school will not get to pick the officer, and that officers are usually assigned from an agreement with the Sheriff’s Department or through a Civil Service position. That leads to concerns Clymer may not end up with an officer who is a good fit for the community.

“Without having really strong control over who that person is, it’s sort of a gamble of getting someone here to be able to get the biggest bank for our buck,” Olson said.

While the board agreed that they would like to look into getting an SRO further, they also agreed that they needed someone who would come and support the students, be continuously on the move, building relationships, and not just sitting around. Additionally, if an emergency were to happen, though it would not prevent everything, the board agreed it would be better to have a presence at the school, especially being so far away from the Sheriff’s Department.

“I want to be able to look parents in the eye and say we did everything we could,” board member Mike Einink said.

The board decided to invite Sheriff Jim Quatrone to a future meeting to talk more about the process and how it all works before deciding on a timeline for when they would like to try and hire a school resource officer.

In other news:

¯ A therapy dog named Margo will soon be traveling between classrooms. She will be handled by the school social worker and has already received training. The dog will not be in the school every day, and there will be an opt-out option for kids who might need it. Margo will begin by being introduced in kindergarten through sixth grade classrooms before beginning individual sessions.

¯ County officials are pushing schools to close on April 8 for the solar eclipse. The push is to prevent people being on the road as much as it is believed people will travel to the area on that day because Chautauqua County is in the path of totality for the eclipse. Discussions focus around the fact that schools still need 180 days of instructional time, and holidays are continuously being added. The eclipse could also be used as an instructional tool. Right now Clymer is planning on a half day. The eclipse starts at 3:15 p.m.

¯ The board will also be looking into “the why of CSP athletics”, meaning they will look closer at what they want for the kids, revisit how they got to where they are with CSP, and see how they want to go forward.


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