COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The size of the safety and security staff at Columbus City Schools is increasing by more than 50 percent.
The district will be hiring 31 new staff members over the summer. They will be assigned to all school levels — high schools, middle schools, and some elementary schools.
Under the new plan, most of the high schools will have two security staff members, in addition to a Columbus Police school resource officer. In addition, all of the middle schools and some of the elementary schools will now have security staff.
The hope is for staff to build relationships with students while also making sure their buildings are safe.
Columbus City Schools Superintendent Dr. Talisa Dixon visited the nerve center for safety and security for the first time Tuesday.
“We have over five thousand cameras in the district, and growing and what we try to do is be that extra set of eyes and ears for our security staff, building administrators, school staff.”
School safety director Chris Ward made the case to significantly increase the size of the district’s safety and security staff.
The superintendent said it was a matter of setting priorities.
“Safety is important for our students and our staff and our parents,” Dixon said. “I want our students to come to a safe school with people they can build relationships with and I believe this is going to provide that for us.”
Dixon said seven of the new positions had been promised through a levy. The others are the result of data compiled on incidents per school as well as looking at crime in the neighborhoods around the schools as well as other factors.
Ward said safety and security staff do much more than secure the buildings and talk about do’s and don’ts — they are also mentors and coaches.
“That is what’s so important,” he said. “Our young people are looking for adults to help them through their development, and that’s what the 31 additional staff will do.”
The number of Columbus Police School Resource Officers will remain at 19 for next year, but there will also be three truancy officers added to the mix.