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More South Carolina schools getting full-time officers

September 9, 2018

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Students in several dozen South Carolina schools soon will have the protection of a full-time school resource officer thanks to a $2 million addition in the state’s budget.

The State newspaper reports the money isn’t enough to cover the cost of placing a full-time officer in more than 300 other schools that currently don’t have one.

Sixty-seven school districts applied for part of the $2 million. State Education Department officials say the 38 winners were chosen based on need and their taxpaying ability. Agency spokesman Ryan Brown said the money primarily will allow local law enforcement agencies to hire officers for elementary and some middle schools.

Most high schools already have SROs, and by 2020, South Carolina plans to have a full-time officer in each school, Brown said.

Earlier this year, Gov. Henry McMaster asked state lawmakers to include $5 million to help hire more officers. The Republican re-upped the request after 17 high school students were killed by a gunman at a school in Parkland, Florida, in February.

“This is a solid first step towards making that happen, but there is more work to be done,” McMaster spokesman Brian Symmes told the paper. “The governor will continue to advocate for further investment and it will continue to be a priority of his until that goal is realized.”

James Smith, a Democratic state lawmaker challenging McMaster this fall, told the paper that he would call on legislators to add more money to the state’s budget to cover hiring more officers for schools.

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Information from: The State, http://www.thestate.com

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