Opinions from around our community
Officers help provide safety at high schools
John P. Welch
Highline Public Schools
Special TO the Times/News
Fall is always a bit of a paradox. Autumn marks the end of a summer that always seems too short in western Washington, a time when our gardens are fading, and leaves are dropping from the trees.
At the same time, fall is a time for new beginnings as children head back to school to a new teacher, a new grade, and sometimes a new location.
This fall is a particularly significant new beginning for me, my first as Highline's superintendent.
This season finds my family and me living in a new neighborhood here in Highline, my daughters starting at a new school, and me beginning a new role in Highline Public Schools.
It is an exhilarating place to be.
Speaking of beginnings, we are opening two new elementary school facilities on the first day of school, Mount View and North Hill. Both schools are being finished on time and on budget.
These new buildings highlight our district's strategic goal to "provide a learning environment that is safe and conducive to learning, inspires community pride, and uses resources cost-effectively."
Another component of the learning environment is school safety. Nothing is more important than keeping our community's children safe while they are at school.
The school board has made it a top priority to fund a school resource officer (SRO) at every high school. The SRO is a fully-trained local police officer who is assigned by the community's police force to work on a school campus.
He or she is at school every day to patrol the campus, build rapport with students, and prevent unsafe behavior and illegal activity.
Our high schools have officers from the King County, SeaTac, and Des Moines police departments. The SeaTac police department graciously funds the SRO who works at Tyee High School, and we are very grateful for their partnership and their investment in our students.
Each high school also has a district security officer. These individuals are employees of the district and have a law enforcement background. The district security officers work in concert with the SRO's to provide added safety on our high school campuses.
In addition, every high school has a campus security officer who patrols campus and assists the SRO and district security officer.
Our school safety teams are on duty at athletic events and other evening activities as requested to ensure that our schools are safe around the clock.
We want every student to feel that school is a secure and welcoming place all the time.
We know students learn best when they feel safe. Making sure we provide that sense of security is just one more critical way we at Highline Public Schools are living our mission to educate every student and expect excellence.