RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) – It’s that time of year again when kids across KOTA Territory head back to school and safety is at the forefront of parents’ minds, especially with the uptick of violence.
Pennington County Sergeant Jesse Fagerland says the 2023 Resource Officers in Rapid City are gearing up and ready to go for the school year. He encourages parents to get more involved by building relationships with the SRO assigned to their kid’s school. “We’re there for the staff, families and students. It’s always safety and security on any unsafe behavior, bringing prohibited items to school, family involvement is critical. Kids need to get a good amount of sleep. They need to be at school on time and ready to learn,” says Fagerland.
The Pennington County Sheriff’s Office and Rapid City Police Department split coverage between Rapid City area schools. Fagerland, who supervises many of the school resource officers in our area says they will cover several schools including Stevens High School, East Middle School, and several Rapid City elementary schools, the entire Douglas School District as well as Hill City and New Underwood School District.
The SRO’s job is to protect, educate, and be a mentor and a positive role model but it doesn’t stop there Fagerland adds. He says to help keep children safe, building relationships with teachers and faculty is important because they are the eyes and ears of the student’s circumstances at home.
Fagerland says you can connect with SROs anytime and it doesn’t just have to because of a crisis but parents must be vigilant when dropping and picking up their kids. He added rules for parents to follow as well, “Slow down and follow speed limits in school zones. Stop for the children and families using the crosswalk. Have a heightened awareness that kids can dart out so be hyper-aware of your surroundings, especially at the start and end of the school day.”
Asked if Fagerland has any other areas for concern this year and he requested safety first. He also urged parents to watch for truancy, and appropriate use of their kid’s phones, “Schools problems with social media use and protecting our children’s identity, campus safety and treating others with respect.”
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