Virginia District Approves Addition of Four New Security Officers for Next School Year

Virginia District Approves Addition of Four New Security Officers for Next School Year

Williamsburg-James City County schools have approved an additional four new security officer positions in the district for the 2019-2020 school budget, according to district spokeswoman Eileen Cox.

Williamsburg-James City County schools have approved an additional four new security officer positions in the district for the 2019-2020 school budget, according to district spokeswoman Eileen Cox.

“You’ll have another adult in the building who is creating relationships with students,” Cox said. “Having someone focused on building those relationships and creating a comfortable environment where students know that there is a trusted adult is important.”

Security officers differ from school resource officers in that they are not employed by the police department but are instead hired by the school board. School security officers must be certified by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services.

In addition, school security officer salaries come from the school’s budget. According to Cox, each officer works about 190 days a year, with a salary ranging from $23,620 to $37,772.

Another important distinction is that school security officers emphasize building connections with students.

“With school security officers… there’s curriculum and training that focuses far more on relationship building and getting the repertoire with students,” said James Christian, K-12 school safety coordinator with the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services. “Each school might utilize them differently but they’re there for everything from addressing student conduct issues to assisting school administrators.”

A security officer is on campus at all times, which provides one more person to walk the building, check hallways and promote operational safety, Cox said.

The four high schools in the district each have three security guards in addition to the school resource officer, and the middle schools do not currently have any additional security officers, according to Cox.

The additional four security officers for next year will be placed at the four middle schools in WJCC.

“If you think about it, we have the nine elementary schools feeding into the four middle schools, so we are putting our resources where there are the most amount of students,” Cox said.

While security officers and school resource officers generally provide different services, a security officer would have the appropriate training to ensure proper authorities are called and procedures are in place in a crisis situation.

However, WJCC schools hope that the additional security will help prevent that scenario from every playing out. The security officers will monitor school visitors and foster relationships with students that will allow them to keep an ear out for potential threats.

Officials said district security officers are not armed.

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