This is a question that is common with parents, teachers, and community leaders. The question is easily answered when you ask yourself the following: Wouldn't you rather send your child to a school where there is an active law enforcement officer on duty, working with the school system, who acts quickly to solve problems?
While there have been some concerns within and around Brevard County Schools, an officer in the school is not a required necessity. Any time an officer is in an area, that officer's presence alone will usually deter behavior not normally accepted by society.
The Brevard County School system, the City of Cocoa, and the Cocoa Police Department, are working together to confront problems our students must face now. By addressing these issues together and proactively we become increasingly effective.
Throughout the United States each year over 200,000 violent crimes occur on school property. Each year 150,000 students stay home because they are "sick of violence and afraid they might be stabbed, shot, or beaten". Every day in the U.S. 60 teachers are assaulted and 160 are threatened. It is estimated that between 100,000 and 135,000 guns are brought to school each day. During the 1992-93 school year, 91% of urban schools, 81% of suburban schools, and 69% of rural schools identified student vs. student assaults as the leading school related violent act.
Although most statistics are nationwide, we can see the trend. An SRO, if utilized correctly, should be the first line of defense against gangs, drugs, alcohol, and school violence. The Supreme Court recognized the effects that gangs and drugs have in our schools and have ruled that "gangs and drugs" are inherently dangerous. They have also stated that every student in the United States has the right to feel safe while attending school.
Through prevention programs, it is hoped that in Cocoa, Florida, we can reverse the trends that are hurting our youth and education. The school system understands and believes that we hold the future of youth in our hands.