After months of budget and legal talks between school and county officials, Chester County sheriff’s deputies went to work Tuesday as school resource officers at three county high schools.
The Chester County district “is excited to welcome back SROs into all three of our high schools as of this morning,” according to a statement from the district. The three schools are Chester, Lewisville and Great Falls high schools.
The Chester County school board on Aug. 15 unanimously approved an agreement with the county to return the resource officers to the schools and sent it to the County Council, which later approved it.
Under the agreement, the county and school district split the cost of three deputies based at high schools. The deputies are employed by the sheriff’s office.
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Other Chester County schools are served by Defender Security, a private firm that provides security guards, and a security chief who oversees the company’s operations throughout the district.
Defender’s private security guards have been working at the three high schools while the school district and county worked on talks to pay for the deputies and then hammered out an agreement for the use of their services.
The school district dropped the use of sheriff’s deputies as school resource officers in 2015, opting for private security guards through Defender Security on each county campus. The district also hired a security director.
However, the decision to remove the sheriff’s 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.
Superintendent Angela Bain, who was hired earlier this year, restarted the talks to bring deputies back into the schools, giving the school district a mix of uniformed deputies and private security guards.
Jennifer Becknell: 803-329-4077