Blount Schools Open With Fewer SROs

By: Stephen McLamb
By: Stephen McLamb

Louisville, Blount County (WVLT) - It was back to school at some Blount County schools Monday morning, but this year there will be two less school resource officers, a total of ten for the district's schools.

Volunteer TV's Stephen McLamb was there for the opening bell.

Some parents are a little disappointed the officers are not going back in all the schools, but not every school in Alcoa and Maryville have resource officers in all of their schools either.

It was opening day for school kids in Blount county and Middlesettlements Elementary School and for most kids they're excited to be back.

"Oh he's ready. He's so ready to get back. It's been a short summer, but it's been fun,” says Janet Gilson.

"Oh, he was ready to go back to school just for the new shoes,” Tammy McDaniel says.

But with the kids leaving home, it's mixed feelings for some parents.

"My son that goes here is a big help for his mom, so it's something that she's going to miss him being around to help,” says Gary Caccabale.

"Absolutely! Absolutely, get them out of my hair,” says Stephen Bryant.

School resource officers will also be missed, as there will only be ten this year. Down two from last year's twelve, which is still many less than the more than 20 two years ago when every county school had one.

"If you put them in, it would be hard to take them out because people will absolutely love them and I think the community has,” Sheriff James Berrong said last week. “I think the school has."

School resource officers are in short supply elsewhere. In Maryville, they have one at the high school and others rotate in the other schools. At Alcoa, one resource officer is in charge of all three schools.

As the sheriff said, parents say they'll be missed.

"I think that it's something that is important for the kids just for their safety and their peace of mind,” says Caccabale.

"It's always been a good thought for a parent to know that they're here, more protected, so I am a little concerned that they're not present,” Gilson says.

Sheriff's officials say one will go to the high school and the rest will rotate in the remaining schools.

Superintendent Tom Shamblin says he likes his school resource officer so much he would like to have another one just like him.


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