GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — School resource officers in Guilford County are keeping tabs on a growing number of fights disrupting learning in schools.
The Guilford County Sheriff’s Office has one officer stationed at each of the seven middle schools and seven high schools in the unincorporated parts of Guilford County.
“The SRO in your child’s school is probably dealing with 100 more things than the SRO of 10 years ago,” said Captain Brian Hall with the GCSO.
Hall oversees the GCSO’s SROs. He tells FOX8 that one officer at each school is enough to get the job done.
“There is more work involved and more fear involved as to what bad can happen. If you aren’t that type of officer, it’s much harder to sell now to get them to do that work than it ever was before,” Hall said.
Some days, it takes two or even three to tackle the problems in front of them.
Officers have broken up massive fights at football games at Dudley High School and Southern Guilford High School, even using pepper spray to break kids apart.
“You’re always asking the question: what are you fighting about? What is so bad that this is your best course of action?” Hall said.
Last year, schools reported 49 fights to resource officers throughout the entire year. This year, the 14 schools combined have already reported 50 fights.
“Fights of 10 years ago…would end when the adult showed up, and now the adult sometimes gets included into it,” Hall said.
Captain Hall sees the same kids involved in these fights getting suspended multiple times.
“It seems like at every stage, we’ve removed consequences, and then we wonder why the behavior is getting worse,” Hall said.
He believes accountability and stricter consequences at school and at home would help cut down on disruptions.
The new touchless scanners at traditional high schools in Guilford County are making an impact.
There have been no reports of weapons on the 14 campuses the sheriff’s office patrols beyond the Nov. 3 report of a plastic airsoft gun confiscated at Northeast Guilford Middle School.
“A student may think ‘I’m not even going to try to bring something in because I may get caught,'” Hall said.
Members of the GCSO are planning to sit down with Dr. Whitney Oakley on Wednesday to strategize how they can stop physical violence and better protect everyone on campus.