WIC discusses school safety

IRON RIVER—Understandably, school safety is a topic that is weighing heavily on people’s minds across the country. And despite the oftentimes heated rhetoric expressed about the issue, people of goodwill on both sides can agree on one thing – we all want our students, staff and visitors to be safe on school grounds.
    The issue, of course, is how best to accomplish that. At its regular monthly meeting on April 17, the West Iron County School Board discussed the district’s plans going forward to try to ensure the safety of its students and staff.
    The idea deliberated upon centered around possibly adding two personnel positions: a resource officer who would be armed and what could be labeled a “student success” worker.
    The resource officer would be a law enforcement officer who has the ability to interact with students in a number of ways, as middle school and high school Principal Mike Berutti explained.
    “(It would be) a resource officer that kids can get to know and feel comfortable around and maybe open up to some things they might hear out in the hallways or on the street or on Facebook or on Snapchat,” Berutti said. “Somebody that’s a presence in the hallway, not handling day-to-day discipline or anything like that, but just being aware of what the kids know and somebody else they can go to.”
    Iron River Police Chief Curtis Bristol, who filled such a role in downstate Charlotte, said that the position would need to be filled by a unique type of individual.
    “It’s an important position and you’ve got to find the right balance between someone who (can make presentations) in the classroom and be comfortable with the students and yet be a law enforcement officer. It’s a certain type of officer and you’ve got to pick the right person.”
    Superintendent Chris Thomson said the district would partner with either the Iron River Police Department or the Iron County Sheriff’s Department in the venture, especially seeing that the district would only need such an officer during the schoolyear, not for a 12-month calendar.
    Because the officer would be armed, he or she would have all the necessary training in firearms, active shooter situations, decision-making and use of deadly force, Bristol said.
    Trustee Ryan Meske said he agreed with the idea.

  To view more, please log in or subscribe to the digital edition.