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Boerne ISD working to equip all campuses with a school resource officer

The district's goal is to have an SRO at all schools by the time school begins on August 10.

BOERNE, Texas — Changes are ahead for Boerne ISD.

The district is working aggressively toward equipping every campus with a designated School Resource Officer (SRO).

Bryan Benway, Director of Communications for Boerne ISD, says this change has been in the works for a couple of years now. The plan is on its way to becoming a reality just months following a shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, which had many districts reviewing security measures ahead of the 2022-2023 school year.

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Boerne ISD's goal is to have an SRO at all schools by the time school begins on August 10. There are 12 campuses in the district: Two high schools, three middle schools and seven elementary schools.

"It's a wonderful time to add extra security to our campuses, to have those extra SRO's," said Kristi Schmidt, PTO President of Boerne High School.

Schmidt is a mother of three students in Boerne ISD.

"I have an incoming 7th grader, an incoming freshman and an incoming sophomore," she explained. 

As the PTO President at Boerne High School, she represents 200 members -- and growing. She commends the district's plan to have a member of law enforcement designated to each school.

At the moment, Boerne ISD has just under 11,000 students.

"We definitely can't predict the future. We can learn from the past and just have faith in our resource officers and faith that our school districts are maintaining relationships with our law enforcement to make these initiatives happen," said Schmidt.

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Two deputies from the Kendall County Sheriff's Office, two officers from Fair Oaks Ranch Police, and eight from Boerne Police will serve as SRO's. Several are from Boerne's SWAT Team.

Previously, the district had seven officers, some of whom would split their duties at more than one campus.

Credit: Boerne ISD
Boerne ISD School Resource Officers for the 2021-2022 school year.

"In the world that we live in today, the everchanging world that we live in, we have to be proactive," said Benway. "We have to be vigilant and we wanted to make sure we could increase safety and security not just for our students and staff, but our visitors."

Boerne ISD will pay 60% of the SRO's salary, while their law enforcement agency will pay 40%.

District officials say all 12 SRO's receive specialized training for their role on campus.

"If [students are] not safe, we can't educate them. That's why it was so important for us to make that move right now," said Benway. 

In addition to more SRO's, Boerne ISD is continuously monitoring their safety and security protocols.

In a press release, district officials said the work includes "...performing an internal and external safety audit, screening all visitors though Raptor visitor management, as well as the use of multiple layers of security that are visible and not visible."

This new initiative is about more than just security, district leaders say.

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"Our SRO's do so much more than just protect the campus. They work as mentors for students," Benway explained. "They work as buddies for students, so they are a leadership role on our campuses."

Schmidt says her soon-to-be 7th grader formed a bond with his SRO, and she is optimistic about more students at each campus forming a similar connection.

"My 6th grader, he formed such a special relationship with his SRO, Officer Pease, back when he was in 3rd grade," said Schmidt. "We'll see him out at lunch on Main Street, and Cooper will just want to run up to Officer Pease. He's very approachable. You can shake his hand, make conversation with him. He's become such a big role model for him."

When school is not in session, the SRO's will return to work their beat for their respective agency.

"We would not be able to do this if it weren't for the great relationship and partnership we had with our local law enforcement agencies," said Benway.

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