Recent stories about school threats have some parents and educators feeling anxious about the safety of their children.
That anxiety is understandable, but district leaders want to assure the entire Bethel community that campus safety is their highest priority. The district uses every resource available to ensure a safe learning environment, from high-tech video monitoring to highly trained law enforcement officers.
Four Pierce County Sheriff’s deputies currently work as School Resource Officers inside the Bethel School District, with each deputy responsible for a geographical area that includes several schools.
The primary goal of every School Resource Officer is to keep children safe from harm, but the deputies are also responsible for educating students and staff, according to Bryan Streleski, Bethel’s Director of Security.
“Their job is to educate and be a partner with the schools, a partner with the community to help keep everybody safe,” Streleski said.
SROs train students and staff about lockdown procedures during active shooter attacks, and they use the “Run, Hide, and Fight” program to help students develop a survival mindset during campus emergencies.
The deputies also work in the community to build relationships with students, teachers and parents. One of Bethel’s SROs hosts an annual golf tournament to raise money for local kids to attend a summer camp about leadership.
“It’s such a positive program,” Streleski said. “It’s great to see the relationships that our SROs have built with students over time, even when they see them outside of school.”
The officers receive yearly training to make sure they have the most up-to-date skills and resources to handle any campus emergency. Bethel also uses a state-of-the art video monitoring system to ensure that only people who are supposed to be at a school are allowed inside.