August 15, 2007 - Posted at 10:45 p.m. CDT
JONESBORO, AR -- When Jonesboro students head back to class next week there will be some big changes this year. A new magnet school system is in place for elementary students. But it's not the only change the youngsters will notice. School resource officers will not be in the district's new magnet schools.
"We knew that safety and security is much greater than just a school resource officer, so in fact over the summer we asked the Jonesboro police department to walk through our buildings with us, go through our campuses with us and evaluate safety and security in all capacities, just not the resources we have in terms of people," said Jonesboro Public School Superintendent Dr. Kim Wilbanks.
School resource officers will be at Annie Camp Jr. High, McArthur Jr. High and Jonesboro High School. But last year's part time SROs will not be watching over the 2500 elementary students now headed to new magnet schools. Parent Reagan McNeil says she's not worried about the changes.
"I definitely would have to say if you had to choose where to put an SRO, I would put it in a secondary school, rather than an elementary school, just because the students change, both physically and emotionally. I would think a secondary school would have a greater need then an elementary school," said McNeil.
Additional vice principals have been assigned to the Jonesboro Magnet Schools. While no Craighead County School will have a SRO in the elementary, they will be present at other levels.
"The Jonesboro district requested three SROs, the Vo-Tech requested one, the Valley View School district request three SROs, so they actually added an SRO this year and the Nettleton School District has requested one," said Sgt. Steve McDaniel.
"We are very fortunate that we have a very cooperative relationship with them, they have assured us that they will respond in a very timely manner, anytime that we need. And we are very pleased that we have that resource at our disposal," said Dr. Wilbanks.