This week, Williston students head back to class after a few months of summer vacation. Although the City of Williston is separate from the school system, as the City we still do what we can to support Williston’s young people and our schools. One of the ways we do this is through our School Resource Officers (SROs).

Maybe you’re not much for social media and you don’t spend a lot of time online; our students and our parents do though. Their lives– from Powerschool to school calendars, even doing homework or checking the balance of your child’s lunch account – make the internet a necessity. This is why this year, our School Resource Officers added something new to their pre-school-year routine – they made a video quick video.

This video has been posted on the City of Williston and the Williston Police Department’s Facebook pages, almost every school page, and is also available on District 1’s School Safety page. The video covers a few quick tips about drop off and getting to school safely – important things for parents and students – but perhaps the most important thing the video does is the easiest to miss; it introduces our community, parents, and students to our SROs.

School safety is a top priority nationally, and this includes Williston. Our SRO’s are of course fully sworn officers, but they also undergo additional training through the North Dakota Association of School Resource Officers. One of the things that SRO training focuses on is this triad concept of being a law enforcement officer, a mentor/counselor, and an educator. While sworn to serve and protect, our SRO’s also want to build trust with students and parents. You build trust by being there, you become a mentor by supporting students and hearing their concerns on a daily basis, and you educate at every opportunity to help make sure our students stay on, or are directed toward, a better path.

This triad model also helps ensure our schools stay safe. A student – or parent – who hears something and says something to their SRO gives us the opportunity to do preventative work to keep our schools the safe learning environment they should be. And that’s why our SRO’s are there, to keep Williston students – and anyone in the building – safe. That said, they’re also there to be a resource for your child, to model good citizenship and service, and to build trust so our students can focus on the important things at school, like learning.

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