Willmar Public School District considers safety and security for staff and students as one of our most important responsibilities. We have established many processes to protect our students and staff from harm. All school buildings have safety plans and processes, and we review those plans and processes frequently to consider improvements.
Because safety is such a high priority for our schools, we contract with the City of Willmar to have police officers (school resource officers) assigned to our school buildings. Having school resource officers present at school buildings not only assists the school system with security issues but also allows students to form positive relationships with police officers. I have observed many positive interactions between the school resource officers and students, as well as with our staff. I would like to describe the formal roles spelled out for the resource officers in our contract with the City of Willmar.
School staff members, such as teachers, principals, and assistant principals, are responsible for enforcing school rules. School resource officers only become involved in disciplinary matters if a crime has been committed. We are very careful that school staff members work on issues related to school rule violations, and law enforcement officers work only on issues that may involve potentially criminal activity.
Our school resource officers can also help to educate students about a variety of issues. They have taught the D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program to fifth-grade students for many years. This program reinforces positive student choices and behaviors. Students make pledges to sustain healthy habits and behaviors while in the D.A.R.E. program and into the future. The students are honored at a graduation ceremony upon completion of the program.
Willmar Public School District is fortunate to have a cooperative agreement with the Willmar Police Department. Our combined efforts can make our schools safer and more positive through the relationships that are developed in this collaboration. If you have any questions about how the Willmar Public School District utilizes school resource officers, please contact my office.
Dr. Jeffrey Holm, Superintendent