West Fargo school resource officers continue providing support to students virtually
School resource officers, or SROs, provide support to students, parents and staff members
WEST FARGO, N.D. — On a typical week day, school resource officers would be walking the halls of their assigned school, interacting with students and staff members.
“Their job is really to build relationships with students, with their admin teams, with their schools,” says West Fargo Police Sgt. Derek Cruff. “They really become a part of that team at every one of the schools they’re involved in.”
With school buildings now empty amid the coronavirus pandemic, the officers are showing up for students in a different way.
“They’ve been helping out with the lunch programs every single day, giving out — hundreds of meals go out every single day. We try to be present at all of those locations, make sure people feel safe,” says Cruff.
Besides ensuring the safety of families and staff at meal distribution spots, the officers are looking at ways of connecting with their students virtually.
“There are a lot of kids that do need that mentorship, but we’re still available,” he says. “They can email, they can put phone calls in to them, we’ve even talked about maybe trying to see if we can get some kind of a contact time every day.”
As families settle into a new routine of distance learning, West Fargo SROs are planning on adjusting to the virtual school setting right alongside the students.
“We’ve discussed at great length that we think next week will be a very busy time for them because we’re going to have a lot of students that we’re just not making a connection with, and we’re going to be reaching out to make sure that they are okay and that they are getting back to the way they need to and that often falls on us as the SRO to make those connections.”
Although the method of communication may be different than usual, maintaining those connections while making sure students are safe is still the SRO’s main mission.
“Everybody’s just trying to find a way to work through this process,” says Cruff. “You know, it’s new for everybody, and we’re going to do the best that we can everyday to continue to build those relationships within our community.”
There are six SROs in the West Fargo district.
Students are encouraged to reach out to them if they’re experiencing problems with the online transition.