(KPTV) - Every year, school resources officers across Oregon come together to discuss issues in schools and how they can best solve crimes and problems to keep your kids safe.
FOX 12 sat in on some of this year’s annual School Resource Officers Association Conference.
“It’s important that we’re up to date on the trends with those sorts of things so we can help support the school administrators and getting those sorts of things off campus,” Sgt. Jim Quackenbush with the Youth Services Division in Portland said.
Sgt. Quackenbush said in bigger cities like Portland, they’re unfortunately dealing with violence in and around schools.
“It’s inevitable that some of the things that happen on the street are going to spill over onto campus,” he said.
Sgt. Quackenbush said they’re running across more weapons than ever before, specifically knives and guns that kids often bring from home.
“Our primary responsibility is to run interference with that and keep the school environment as safe as possible, so the students can focus on learning,” he said.
Another problem, this one in schools everywhere in Oregon, marijuana and tobacco.
Juuls were also heavily discussed. It’s a sleek small vape pen that’s easy for kids to hide in plain sight.
“I really don’t believe kids recognize the dangers,” Jodi Drescher, Assistant Principal at Silverton High School said. “15, 20 years down the road, we’re going to see the damage that it’s going to inflict on our kids.”
Another big concern that’s often discussed is bullying, specifically on social media.
“Students don’t know what good digital citizenship looks like and parents don’t know what good digital citizenship looks like,” Kari Skinner, the Director of Public Safety for the Eugene School District said. “So, giving your 8-year-old a device and leaving it in their room all night long is that potentially opening up the door for bullying, is that potentially opening the door for violence?”
“It follows you now, because it’s on your phone, it’s on your computer,” Drescher said. “It’s 24 hours a day and there is no break for these kids.”
Officers and administrators said even small steps can help fight it.
“The thing I really liked was ways we can empower other kids to stick up for the kid that’s getting picked on and while we do some of those, we can always improve,” Drescher said.
Everyone can agree the biggest takeaway this year, every kid should have a meaningful relationship with an adult.
“That’s the biggest deterrent in all facets and we say that every year, but I have some other things that I can bring in this year for the teachers, our support staff, and our administrators, that if they can recognize again how important they are in the life of a child," Drescher said.
One thing school resources officers talked about is that they’re building relationships with students all year long as well, just like teachers and administrators.
They said it’s not necessarily about finding crimes in schools, but rather treatment and better understanding for parents on how they can be involved in situations and help.
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