Magazine article National Association of School Psychologists. Communique

Including School Resource Officers in School-Based Crisis Intervention

Magazine article National Association of School Psychologists. Communique

Including School Resource Officers in School-Based Crisis Intervention

Article excerpt

Summarized by Daniel McNair, Georgia Southern University

This article discusses the unique role of trained police officers, school resource officers (SROs), in our educational systems. While the traditional roles of SRO activities such as traffic monitoring or drug awareness training are mentioned, the article's primary focus is upon the distinct skills these professionals possess in supporting the efforts of school crisis and prevention teams. Although the article is primarily a literature review coupled with a few case examples rather than a methodical investigation of quantitative data, the authors effectively communicate the value of SROs in addressing the needs of an educational agency in a time of crisis.

The authors begin by describing the change in general law enforcement practices that have arisen in preceding decades as officers have increasingly been called upon to assist in the deescalation of emotionally charged situations that include irrational, aggressive, or potentially violent individuals. Due to this changing dynamic of law enforcement, officers now receive specialized training in crisis response and violence prevention.

The support for SROs has increased nationwide in response to the frequency of school shootings that began in the 1990s. Today, SROs have the option to receive supplementary training to include school crisis response, deescalation techniques, threat assessment strategies, antibullying strategies, recognition of child abuse, social-emotional support, cultural awareness, and other activities that mirror the traditional roles of mental health training programs. This extra training focus upon service delivery to youth and school stakeholders is advantageous to SROs wishing to participate on school crisis response and prevention teams. In addition to their role in the educational system, these individuals are also law enforcement officers and bring to the table experience and knowledge of local law enforcement and emergency management procedures. …

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