School resource officer started Thursday, Sept. 13

The Fonda-Fultonville Central School District welcomed Montgomery County Sheriff’s Deputy Heather Harder its new school resource officer on Thursday, Sept. 13.

The Montgomery County Legislature approved an agreement with the school district on Tuesday to establish a school resource officer (SRO) position for the 2018-19 school year. The Fonda-Fultonville Board of Education approved the agreement at its August board meeting.

“I’d like to thank Montgomery County and Sheriff Michael Amato for understanding the importance of increased safety in our schools, and for supporting the agreement,” Superintendent of Schools Thomas Ciaccio said. “We’re excited to welcome Deputy Harder on a full-time basis for the upcoming school year.”

Harder serves as a full-time school resource officer at all FFCS buildings on days when school is in session. She will also participate in or attend school functions.

Harder is already connected to FFCS. She has served as the district’s D.A.R.E. officer since the program was implemented in the 2017-18 school year; a role she will continue in her duties as the SRO. She also visited the elementary school during its annual Reading Rocks carnival this past June to help teach the district’s youngest learners about law enforcement.

“Deputy Harder already has rapport with our students and she has her thumb on the pulse of our school district, thanks to the outstanding work she did as our D.A.R.E. officer last year,” Ciaccio said. “We welcome the opportunity to provide increased security in our schools, and to continue the important partnership our district has with local law enforcement.”

Under the agreement, FFCS will pay the county $51,930 for the SRO position during the 2018-19 school year.

A school resource officer has four main roles: Law enforcer, informal counselor, emergency manager and educator. Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, providing school security, taking part in safety planning and drills, providing professional development to staff in such areas as drug and alcohol recognition and victims of abuse, and providing instruction about cybersecurity.