Both deputies, with the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office, police school grounds while wearing the same uniform and equipment as if they were outside the school setting.
“We’re armed just as a sheriff’s deputy would be on the street. I have my duty weapon, pepper spray and Taser,” Simmons said. “We don’t utilize those things much, but we’re here to provide safety and security for teachers, staff and students alike.”
In order to help make their duties as SROs easier and safer, Holland and Simmons urge parents to get involved in their children’s lives and educate themselves on social media.
“I would like to see a more secure environment, more secure protocol for coming on campus, and I would like parents to be more understanding when we have to take action, like having a lockdown,” Simmons said. “The best thing a parent can do is talk to their child and should there be a problem, they should contact the SRO. Talking with us is the best prevention and identification of any problem.”
“Parents need to be more aware of what their kids are doing on the computer. We can say lock doors and put up metal detectors at the schools, but I personally don’t feel that’s the answer. The people in the school — students and faculty — can make it safer along with an SRO,” Holland added. “I feel strongly there is a need for an armed resource officer at the schools. When I speak to kids, they don’t have fear because I’m here. What has helped this school out more than anything is the kids have a relationship with me. Having an SRO doesn’t mean students are bad; it means the school is being proactive and protecting the school. Our goal is to make sure our students feel like school is the safest place to be.”
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