Chester schools, county mull deal on resource officers

In this 2015 file photo, Chester County Sheriff’s Deputy Calvin Carter is shown at Chester High School.
In this 2015 file photo, Chester County Sheriff’s Deputy Calvin Carter is shown at Chester High School. Herald file photo

School starts Monday in Chester County, but school and county officials have yet to finalize a deal to use school resource officers at three high schools.

County Supervisor Shane Stuart said Friday he expects an agreement between the county and the school district over the resource officers to be considered Monday night by the Chester County Council.

“It just hasn’t been approved,” Stuart said. “We are slated to discuss it Monday.”

Stuart said the county attorney and the school district attorney have been meeting to finalize an agreement for the County Council and school board to consider.

The school district will have security officers on its campuses when school begins Monday, according to a statement from the district. The district has been working to finalize the resource officer agreement with the county, the statement said.

According to the statement, such an agreement could be presented to the school board as early as Monday night for approval.

“We continue to be hopeful that with continued cooperation and communication from the sheriff, SROs will be in place as the school year gets underway,” the statement said.

The statement also said that if the county and the school district fail to seal a school resource officer agreement, “I can assure you that we will take the necessary steps to provide security on all our campuses.”

Superintendent Angela Bain and Sheriff Alex Underwood could not be reached Friday for further details.

The school district dropped the use of sheriff’s deputies as school resource officers in 2015, opting for private security guards on each county campus. The district also hired a security director to oversee the security.

However, the decison to remove the deputies was revisited earlier this year, after the departure of former Superintendent Agnes Slayman, who resigned under pressure last year after charges that she created a hostile work environment.

Bain, named superintendent earlier this year, restarted the talks to bring deputies back into the schools, giving the school system a mix of uniformed deputies and private security guards.

The school district and county were working on an agreement to have a county sheriff’s deputy serve as a resource officer at each of its three high schools: Chester, Lewisville and Great Falls.

Jennifer Becknell: 803-329-4077