school police officers

South Carolina Education Department to Fund Over 200 School Resource Officers Across State

The state superintendent says that the $11 million in funding will push South Carolina closer to its goal of having a school resource officer in every school.

Public school districts across South Carolina are set to receive over $11 million in state funds to hire one to four school resource officers per district, depending on their needs, in order to meet the state’s goal of having at least one SRO in every school.

The new officers will be funded indefinitely by the state’s education department, the Charleston Post and Courier reported. A total of 205 officers will be hired across all of the state’s 81 school districts, the Erskine Charter Institute and the S.C. Public Charter School District.

"School resource officers are a deterrent to violence within the school building and their training and response to crime is an invaluable asset that allows educators to focus on instruction,” Molly Spearman, the state superintendent, said in a statement. “The funding of these 205 officers puts us within reach of meeting our goal for having a SRO in every school."

Some districts are planning to use the money to reimburse the salary of a current SRO rather than hire another one. Others are still trying to figure out how much money they will be allocated for new officers and how they can best spend it. A spokesman for the Berkeley district said the funding announcement took district officials by surprise, according to the Post and Courier.

In addition to the SROs, South Carolina also has ambitions to have a mental health counselor in every school along with more mental health resources and training for students and educators, according to Spearman’s announcement.

This year, the state assembly approved $2.2 million in additional funds for schools to hire more mental health counselors in addition to the $11.8 million allocated for school officers. Most are hired through local law enforcement agencies, with the school paying for the officer’s salary.

About the Author

Haley Samsel is an Associate Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.