Protecting, serving and teaching the youth of MeigsCounty will be some of the important roles filled by Meigs County Sheriff’s Deputy Mark Griffin as he takes on the position of School Resource Officer in the coming weeks. Griffin, a seven-year veteran of the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office, was selected by Meigs County Sheriff Keith Wood to serve in the position.
Duties of the School Resource Officer include drug prevention education, school safety and security and traffic control. Griffin will work in the Meigs and Eastern school districts on multiple programs for the upcoming year. Project ALERT and the SAVE (Students Against Violence Everywhere) program are two of the programs Griffin will be launching in the schools this year to help with those goals.
Project ALERT is an age-appropriate substance abuse prevention curriculum proven effective in reducing experimentation among teens and in reducing usage among teens who experiment. The program is geared toward seventh and eighth grades students. Lessons taught through the program focus on alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and inhalants.
A letter that will be sent home to parents of students involved in the program reads in part, “Both school districts are committed to providing the most effective approaches to preventing the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs in our schools and communities. We know that prevention of drug use and abuse is most effective when it is a partnership between the community, the home and the school.”
The second program, SAVE, focuses on violence and bullying in schools. SAVE is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to providing students with the information and resources necessary to make a positive difference in safety efforts in schools and communities. The program engages students in meaningful violence prevention efforts within their school and community; empowers youth with the knowledge and skills necessary to provide service to their community and school; encourages positive peer influences within the school and community through violence prevention efforts; and educates students about the effects and consequences of violence as well as safe activities for students, parents and the community.
“If you see something, say something,” is a motto which Griffin has set forth as the School Resource Officer. He stated that he wanted the students to be able to tell him if there is something going on that may require attention. Plans are being made to set up a drop box or email specifically for that purpose.
He went on to say that the schools have some issues with bullying and school violence. “Top priority is safety of the kids, faculty and administration,” said Griffin.
When school is not in session during the summer, Griffin is planning to offer some summer programs. Griffin also added that plans are in place to be at the Meigs County Fair this year to promote safety for kids and provide information on the upcoming programs in the schools.
The School Resource Officer position is partially funded through a grant from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, with the school district also paying a portion of the cost.
In addition to the School Resource Officer, the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office is partnering with Carleton School, Rio Grande Community College Meigs Branch and Meigs Primary/Intermediate School for a part-time officer (approximately 30 hours per week) to provide services at the locations.
At this time, Southern Local has opted to not be part of the programs.