GREENSBORO, N.C. – As part of a series of meetings aimed at improving community relations, St. Stephen United Church of Christ hosted a meeting Thursday night about Guilford County's school resource officers.
Luther Falls, president of St. Stephen United Church of Christ Fellowship, said school safety is at the top of parents' minds before children head back to school and they wanted to educate parents and students about the role SROs play in schools.
“First of all, they’re there to protect the students and the faculty and administration at the school and prevent anything from happening that could possibly be done,” he said. “In addition to that, they just may need an ear, that they may not be able to talk to their parent of the person at home, their guardian, they may want to share that with an officer.”
Every middle and high school in Guilford County is assigned an armed SRO, according to Greensboro police. A spokesperson for the department said the officers undergo extensive training, focusing on communication and de-escalation.
Chris Trent is a Page High School parent. He said the school's SRO, Officer Griffith, always makes an effort to get to know students and is a strong asset to the school.
“He gets to know the kids, he does things after school, he just goes way over and beyond what his job role is at the school,” Trent said.
Falls said he wanted parents to know about the valuable relationship between the officer and the students, especially following a year of increased violence in schools.
"I really feel like that's the main part of their duties, building trust and rapport with the students so that if something happens they can get information but also as a male or female role model."