RUSSELL COUNTY, Va. - It's a concerning topic for parents -- should every school have a school resource officer?
For parents like Tonya Jackson, it's the number one priority. "You trust the school system to take care of your children while they're there and with all of the shootings that are going on it's very imperative they do just that for us parents," said Jackson.
A local Russell County student we talked to echoed the same thoughts. "I would definitely feel a lot safer if there was one just in case something happened like Sandy Hook," said Jacob Smith.
We learned Russell County will now only have three SROs for the whole county because a lack of funding. Russell County Sheriff Steve Dye tells us they'll be placed in various parts of the county. "Probably with the limited man power that we're going to have this year, probably what we're going to concentrate on is the schools that are farthest away from the town, the places we're worried the most about response times," said Sheriff Dye.
We learned that's because there are town officers nearby that can be to the schools like Lebanon Elementary, Middle and High in a moment's notice.
The superintendent wasn't available for an on-camera interview, but she did say that, "Although there may not be School Resource Officers 'stationed' in each of our buildings [at all times] in Russell County, we have taken steps to create and ensure that our students will be in a safe learning environment in all our schools."
Those steps include completing a crisis plan, offering training to all school personnel, as well as updating security cameras and having secure entry ways to the schools.
Sheriff Steve Dye tells us they're working hard with the school system. "We're going to make the most of what we have," he said.
The school system did tell us they hope to gain more funding in the future to one day have SROs in all of the schools in the county.
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