In the wake of February’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida, districts across Maine have brought more police into schools. But new survey results from a team at the University of Southern Maine show that school resource officers are being used and trained in vastly different ways around the state.
The research was presented to the state’s Juvenile Justice Advisory Board last week. It shows that most officers provide counseling and monitor school grounds. However, less than half of the state’s school resource officers have received a basic, one-week training course, and even fewer have been trained in subjects such as student privacy and active threat response.
Like many states, Maine currently has no training requirements for school resource officers. Research analyst Danielle Layton says the new research will be used as part of a larger initiative from the state’s advisory group to provide guidance to districts on school resource officers.
“So we have this great opportunity to do this study here in Maine, and find out what is happening. And start a conversation about what we want to be happening,” Layton says. “To offer recommendations and some really useful tools that can be adapted in areas that have SROs, or are considering hiring SROs.”