Champaign Police Officers support Safety at Secondary Schools

Wed, 11/16/2005 - 12:00am

Dear Parents, Families and Friends of Champaign High School Students:

If you have not been informed of the employment of off-duty police officers to support our staff and students, please accept my apology for the late notification.  This initiative was implemented in response to fights occurring in our high schools with greater frequency and violence than in recent years.  The sad news is that we have held 25 reassignment hearings already this year as compared to 30 for the entire 2004-05 school year.  

Unfortunately, a group of students have issues that involve friends and families in the community, and these issues have resulted in fighting in the community and in school despite the efforts of large numbers of caring adults.  Counseling, mediation, and the involvement of community members have failed to keep peace, and on November 4, 2005 Central High School was locked down for two hours while administrators and police ensured the safety of staff and students.

As the adults responsible for our young people, we cannot allow this to continue.  We will continue the involvement of teachers, administrators, families and community members in our efforts to prevent violence in our schools. Our initiatives at the elementary level have been particularly successful, and suspensions have been reduced by almost 50 percent.  We must, however, increase our efforts to improve discipline and prevent violence at our secondary schools.

As part of these increased efforts, we have now hired off-duty police officers to support the administrative staff at Central, Centennial and Columbia.  These officers are trained to intervene in community conflicts and to prevent these conflicts from overflowing into our schools.  They will also serve as support to discourage any criminal behavior from individuals outside the schools.  The presence of police officers in our schools is not to frighten or intimidate anyone.  The officers are a resource to support safety and discipline in Champaign schools.  Champaign Unit 4 is the only district in the Big 12 Conference that has not already employed School Resource Officers as an additional school support.

Permanent School Resource Officers will likely be recommended as a part of next year’s budget. Discussion regarding this and other safety initiatives will be discussed at a public meeting in December.  The date will be announced to all community members and parents as soon as it is confirmed.

I hope that everyone will remember that the majority of the students attending our schools have not been involved in disruptive and violent behavior.  They come to school every day to take advantage of the quality educational opportunities offered to them.  Establishing a safe and orderly environment is a critical component of our plan to ensure that every student has access to a quality education.  I appreciate your support as our students, teachers and administrators continue a positive and productive school year.

 

Sincerely,

Arthur R. Culver, Superintendent

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