SRO to be voted on Tuesday

Fonda-Fultonville fifth grade class along with Montgomery County sheriff's deputy Heather Harder during their D.A.R.E graduation on June 6. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O'Hara)

FONDA — Fonda-Fultonville Central School District approved an agreement with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office to establish a school resource officer position for the school year.

The Montgomery County Legislature is holding a special meeting on Tuesday to either approve or deny the agreement. If approved, the district will welcome Montgomery County sheriff deputy Heather Harder as the full-time school resource officer at all the FFCS buildings.

According to a news release, Harder will be at the schools when classes are in session, and she will participate or attend school functions.

“It goes without saying that safety is one of the district’s highest priorities,” said Superintendent Thomas Ciaccio. “The district decided to contract with the sheriff’s office to acquire a school resource officer as a way to further strengthen the security of our schools, ultimately supporting the safety of our students and staff.”

The release states that under the agreement, the district will pay the county $51,930 for the SRO position during this school year. The district budgeted the contract in their 2018-19 spending plan that was approved by voters in May.

Roles of the SRO include: Law enforcer, informal counselor, emergency manager and educator. Responsibilities will include, but are not limited to, providing school security, taking part in safety planning and drills, providing professional development to staff in areas such as drug and alcohol recognition and victims of abuse, and providing instruction about cybersecurity.

Harder has previously worked with the district through the DARE program as the DARE officer since the program was implemented in the 2017-18 school year. She will continue those responsibilities in her duties as the SRO. The release states she also visited the elementary school during its annual Reading Rocks carnival in June to help teach the district’s youngest learners about law enforcement.

“We’re excited to welcome Deputy Harder on a full-time basis for the upcoming school year,” Ciaccio said. “She already has rapport with our students and she has her thumb on the pulse of our school district, thanks to the outstanding work she did as our DARE officer last year. We welcome the opportunity to provide increased security in our schools, and to continue the important partnership our district has with local law enforcement.”