By JILL ALEXANDER Courier-Post News Intern
Students have returned to school in Ralls County with one major change. School Resource Officer Chris Walotka is now present during the school day.
he plan to hire a resource officer became official in March. There had been discussion of adding the position since Superintendent Tara Lewis came to the district three years ago.
RALLS COUNTY, Mo. (WGEM) -
Starting this school year in Ralls County, Missouri, a police officer will be on site every school day. The new officer is just one of several changes to improve safety.
According to officials, the new school resource officer is something the school district and Ralls County officials have been discussing for a long time.
Students can look forward to new improvements like a new paint job for the high school roof, refinished floors in the Jr. high gym, and updated bathrooms, all things Superintendent Tara Lewis says are big for students.
"Those were definitely needing to be done and I think students and everybody will appreciate that whenever they return to school," said Lewis.
Changes are also being made to keep students safer, like changing how visitors enter the buildings.
"We're moving [the day time entrance] down to our Jr. High entrance where there's an office right there," said Lewis, "we've also added an extra set of doors to create a foyer area."
The safer entrance also comes with the hiring of a new school resource officer by the Ralls County Sheriff's Office, something Chief Deputy Ronald Haught Jr. said is a collaborative effort.
"It's a culmination of the cooperation between the school, the Sheriff's office and the commissioners of Ralls County, and it's a partnership between all three of those groups of individuals that have really struggled to put this together and we're pretty excited to have it happen," said Haught.
Haught and Lewis said the new SRO will help students be safer and also help them develop positive relationships with law enforcement.
"We're looking for somebody that's personable, and easy for the students to connect to, as well as the adults in the building, very approachable," said Lewis, "so that somebody could go up and easily talk to this person sharing their story or asking questions."
The sheriff's office says the SRO has been hired, and is currently in training.