District to pay Lyons $65K annually for 10-month, 4-hour-a-day post
Whenever students return to George Washington Middle School, they’ll see someone new in the hallways, a Lyons police officer serving in the new role of school resource officer.
There has not been a school resource officer at GWMS, which serves families in the southeast quarter of Brookfield along with the villages of Lyons, Stickney, McCook and Forest View, in about five years.
On Feb. 23, the Lyons-Brookfield School District 103 Board of Education voted 4-2 with one abstention to approve an intergovernmental governmental agreement with the village of Lyons.
The agreement calls for District 103 to pay Lyons $65,000 a year for one police officer to work at GWMS for 20 hours a week when school is in session a 10-month period. The school resource officer will work at the school four hours a day as well as at certain after school activities.
“I think we need a resource officer at the middle school for the safety of the students, the staff, and community as a whole,” said District 103 Superintendent Kristopher Rivera in an email. “Training and preventative measures can save lives.”
The start date for the school resource officer has yet to be determined but could be sometime in April when students may start returning to GWMS.
“We are discussing the appropriate start date as related to the practical application of the duties,” Rivera said. “Since we are still discussing whether students will return, we have variables that are not situated yet.”
District 103 is the only school district in the immediate area that has not had some type of in-person instruction for students this year, except for a handful of special education students.
School board members Marge Hubacek and Shannon Johnson voted against the agreement with the village of Lyons.
Hubacek said that while she doesn’t oppose having a school resource officer, she questioned some terms in the agreement and wondered why the position needed to be approved at a time when it is not clear if students will even attend school in person this academic year.
“We had questions that they couldn’t answer, or didn’t answer,” Hubacek said, adding she thought the intergovernmental agreement favored the village.
Anderson abstained because she, too, had issues with the agreement.
“I’m for the school resource officer, I really am,” Anderson said. “But I didn’t agree with the way it was being presented and how it was going to be structured.”
Lyons Police Chief Thomas Herion said he hopes the school resource officer will help build positive relationships with students.
“I think it’s a great situation to build relationships between the police department and the kids,” Herion told the Landmark. “It’s a positive thing.”
Herion says the school resource officer, who will carry a gun while on campus, will be a young Lyons police officer who he declined to name at this time because he wasn’t sure that the school board members had been told who the officer will be.
But Herion said that the officer is trained to work with juveniles.
“The young officer, he’s fully trained, educated, sharp guy and he’ll do a great job,” Herion said.