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The SRO program is a proactive approach to deal with the pressures today's young people find themselves having to confront. This includes the use of alcohol, drugs, and tobacco, along with peer pressure, gang activity, and sex. These situations are not only in the schools, but in the community as well. The approach of addressing these issues only in the school, or only in the community, has not been completely effective. Traditionally, police and school did not interact until one called upon the other.
Children affected by substance abuse or gang activity in the community will be carrying that into the school, which in turn affects other students, educators, and administrators.
The basic outline of duties for the SRO includes investigating crimes that occur within the school and on school property, creating a positive role model for students, creating a link between law enforcement and the students, and being a resource for parents, staff, administration, and students in regards to law enforcement and community problems.
Today, the program has become a valuable asset to the police department, school district, and the community.
The SRO program works much the same way with each school in Cocoa. At Cocoa High School the SRO works with the administration, educators, and counselors. The role each plays is dependent on the needs of the situation. Cocoa High School is dedicated to providing an education to all of their students. With this goal in mind, all assets and services are pledged to this end.
A student with a suspected substance abuse problem is a different concern than a student being harassed or a student suspected of being involved in gang activity. No one person has the "final" say as to the solution to a situation, as each has a differing role, authority, and approach. The primary concern is that of the student.
Cocoa High School - Officer Glenn Helm
While there have been some concerns within and around Brevard County Schools, an officer in the school is not a required necessity. Any time an officer is in an area, that officer's presence alone will usually deter behavior not normally accepted by society.
The Brevard County School system, the City of Cocoa, and the Cocoa Police Department, are working together to confront problems our students must face now. By addressing these issues together and proactively we become increasingly effective.
Throughout the United States each year over 200,000 violent crimes occur on school property. Each year 150,000 students stay home because they are "sick of violence and afraid they might be stabbed, shot, or beaten". Every day in the U.S. 60 teachers are assaulted and 160 are threatened. It is estimated that between 100,000 and 135,000 guns are brought to school each day. During the 1992-93 school year, 91% of urban schools, 81% of suburban schools, and 69% of rural schools identified student vs. student assaults as the leading school related violent act.
Although most statistics are nationwide, we can see the trend. An SRO, if utilized correctly, should be the first line of defense against gangs, drugs, alcohol, and school violence. The Supreme Court recognized the effects that gangs and drugs have in our schools and have ruled that "gangs and drugs" are inherently dangerous. They have also stated that every student in the United States has the right to feel safe while attending school.
Through prevention programs, it is hoped that in Cocoa, Florida, we can reverse the trends that are hurting our youth and education. The school system understands and believes that we hold the future of youth in our hands.