By Sadie Jones

Is there too great a cost for school safety?

On March 26, in an effort to appease the 1.9 million dollar budget cut facing the Stillwater Public School district — administrators decided to cut three of their school resources officers, in addition to current staff members. While no one can argue that this would not save the school money — is a budget cut worth the risk of the students, faculty and staff’s safety?

If there is any debate on whether or not this will make any difference to the school’s security — just ask the students and teachers who were at Stillwater Junior High School at 7:50 a.m. Sept. 26, 2012. The morning a junior high student shot himself in the hallway.

Juliana Keeping of wrote an article about the incident. In it, she mentioned the actions of the Stillwater School Recourse Officers and how they provided aid in the face of a tragedy.

“A school resource officer was in an adjacent hallway and heard the shot,” Keeping states. “The officer quickly found the student’s body and locked down the school.”

The article goes on to further mention the actions of the officers.

“A police officer let the students out of the rooms at the school…students were led to a gym and then onto buses that took them to the nearby Cimarron Plaza strip mall.”

Although the student suicide did not physically harm any other student or faculty member at the school, the recourse officers were there on the scene. They are trained to respond to emergencies and devise a plan that is in the best interest and safety of those in the school — and that is exactly what they did.

News 9’s Lisa Monahan wrote an article that one parent in particular, who has children enrolled in the Stillwater Junior High and High School, said she believes the three school resource officers were crucial in helping student safety during the 2012 incident. “We feel our students feel more comfortable with an officer there,” the parent said.

I believe it’s blatantly obvious that the recourse officers are not just there for the students and staff’s safety — but also for the parent’s peace of mind. There have been so many school shootings within the last decade and although they have each been in different places — there is one thing each incident has in common — school recourse officers are there on the scene—ready to get students, faculty and staff to safety — just as they did during the suicide at Stillwater Junior High.

Monahan’s article stated that the district cannot afford to pay their school resource officers due to the budget cut — but if Assistant Superintendent Terry McCarty spoke the truth when he told Monahan “we take school safety and security very very seriously.”

I think they can find a way to pay the officers who are trained and prepared to risk their lives in order to save the lives of students so they can go back home to their families, safe and sound. Don’t you?