BUCKHANNON - The prevention resource officer program may be expanded from Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School and Buckhannon-Upshur High School to Upshur County elementary schools, officials said this week.
Upshur County Board of Education members voted to continue the program after hearing reports from B-UHS PRO officer Rocky Hebb, who summarized the past year's statistics for the program.
Superintendent Roy Wager said the BOE will now approach the Upshur County Commission to ask about a possible PRO officer for the elementary schools.
Wager said he wanted to consider the possibility of adding a PRO officer for the elementary schools because of how engaged and well-behaved more than 1,000 students were at the Rachel's Challenge Field Day this year, where Hebb was present and offered musical entertainment.
"When Rocky was gracious enough to sing for the kids, which is something he does quite well, it was quite evident the kids knew who he was when he got up there because he has quite a following at the elementary schools," Wager said.
Hebb said the PRO officers already try to make it a point to visit all the elementary schools in Upshur County twice a month and establish a relationship with the children.
"We wanted to gain that relationship with them," Hebb said. "That was the foundation we wanted. We established that pretty well, I would say."
BOE President Teresa Bellamy also praised Hebb.
"I think it's true he goes above and beyond," Bellamy said.
Hebb summarized details of the PRO program, speaking for B-UMS PRO officer C.J. Day, who was not able to make it to Tuesday's meeting. For the 2013-2014 school year, Day taught 125 classes to a combined 5,001 students. Hebb said the classes can range from talks about cyber bullying to drug awareness.
"He does a great job," Hebb said. "He teaches these classes very well."
Hebb said Day also talked with 83 students one-on-one. He said those contacts are made by students who want to talk to the officers about a
"We're not only a law enforcement officer, we're a counselor too, and we're not going to send someone away to go to a counselor whenever they come to us," Hebb said. "We're going to listen to what they have to say. If we feel the need to add the counselor to it, absolutely. If not, it may be a prevention tactic to stop a fight or something."
Hebb said there were 56 reported acts of violence at B-UMS, which included fights and "suspendible offenses." Hebb said there were five drug-related incidents, two alcohol-related incidents and nine tobacco-related incidents. Hebb said Day filed 12 juvenile petitions.
Hebb noted there are more students at B-UHS, making his numbers higher than Day's. In the same school year, Hebb reported he had 632 one-on-one conversations with students and taught 50 classes to a combined 5,042 students.
Hebb said B-UHS had 78 reported acts of violence, nine drug-related incidents, 20 alcohol-related incidents and 23 tobacco-related incidents. Hebb said he filed 43 juvenile petitions.
"The alcohol is what shocked me this year," Hebb said.
He said the alcohol-related incidents included students who had alcohol on the school campus or who came to school drunk.
"Teachers are busy, coaches are busy, but I never dreamed you were that busy," BOE member Patrick Long said to Hebb.