Proposed Legislation Would Expand School Resource Officers

HYANNIS – New legislation could require a school resource officer in every Massachusetts public school building if approved by lawmakers.

Fifth Barnstable State Representative Stephen Xiarhos, who filed the bill, said that school resource officers help students feel more secure about approaching authority figures in times of emergency.

“They become your friend. It breaks down the barriers that people may have where they could be afraid of a police officer. Most people aren’t, but sometimes it happens,” said Xiarhos.

Xiarhos served as a school resource officer for several years during his five-decade career with the Yarmouth Police Department, and said he had a positive relationship with the students.

“In Yarmouth we’ve been doing it for over 30 years. Barnstable too for a long time. They have agreements between the schools and the towns and they assign that officer and those relationships start. So this bill promotes it, and offers ways to fund it,” said Xiarhos.

A similar requirement calling for every district to have a school resource officer was struck down by lawmakers about two years ago.

A bill that would significantly reduce the presence of school resource officers has also been filed for this legislative session.

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native from Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the News Center in 2019.
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