MAMMOTH SPRING -- Mammoth Spring School Superintendent Ron Taylor has sent a letter to state Rep. Curren Everett and state Sen. Paul Miller asking for their support for a school resource officer.
"As the new Arkansas Legislature opens, I feel it is my duty to respectfully request your support for the funding of a school resource officer to be assigned on a ratio of 500-to-1 students to every school in the state of Arkansas," the letter stated.
This is the second time Taylor has approached elected officials concerning the need for this position in the school district.
Taylor spoke to the Fulton County Quorum Court Oct. 16 and requested help in funding the position of a school resource officer.
Taylor said he was told by the county officials there were no funds available at this time for the position. Following the meeting Fulton County Judge Charles Willett said,"Maybe the upcoming legislative session will see some legislation that will help school districts fund such a position."
There are currently 468 students in the Mammoth Spring School District. Taylor said if the Legislature will fund the position based on a 500 to 1 ration, he believes the district would pick up the balance.
A school resource officer (SRO) is a certified law enforcement officer who is assigned to the school. "The concept is similar to the 'officer on foot patrol' who knows the public he or she serves on a first-name basis and is sensitive to their particular needs," Taylor said.
If the SRO should ever become a reality Taylor said he would like to see the SRO responsible for three duties at the school.
"The officer would be 20-percent educator, 50-percent law enforcement officer and 30-percent counselor," the superintendent said.
In his letter to the state representative and state senator Taylor enclosed some background information on SROs. It included information about the Jonesboro School District's effort to keep their SRO. Jonesboro High School principal Brian Russell said the SRO position in his school district could be cut next year if funding is not made available from the state.
On Jan. 3 a Jonesboro kindergarten teacher found an unloaded handgun in the pocket of a student's coat.
As of this week Taylor said he had not heard back from the representative or senator regarding the funding of an SRO.