Although Bismarck School District has already implemented numerous additional safety features/procedures the past few years, they are happy to have full-time SRO Deputy Justin Baker. Surveys show that SRO’s increase feelings of safety among students, teachers, and administrators. They can also deter aggressive behavior, and empower staff to maintain order and address behavioral issues in a timely manner, diminish classroom time spent on discipline and behavioral disruptions, improve school safety, and improve relationships between law enforcement and youth.
Bismarck Schools will also have commissioned school security officers in addition to its one school resource officer beginning in 2020. No teachers will be armed, only a handful of non-instructional staff volunteered to train to become CSSO's. The decision to adopt the CSSO program was approved at a school board meeting back in May 2019.
The volunteers underwent 60 hours of intensive training with law enforcement. The school district says it wants CSSO's on and around campuses should there ever be a school threat or serious situation which warrants additional security in a timely manner. The CSSO’s will work in close correlation with HSC law enforcement and will undergo an additional 12+ hours of training each year in order to maintain their certification.
For safety reasons, how many CSSO's there will be, or who they are, will not be publicly shared. We believe having CSSO's at the schools serves as a preemptive measure to keep students safe. District officials feel that it is best practice that only non-instructional staff perform in this role to avoid that direct interaction with students.
Bismarck School District has also played an active role in the development of the Hot Spring County Conversations, Our Vision for the Future, county-wide plan, where representatives from throughout the county and district prioritized areas of importance. Public Safety and Law Enforcement was a priority area for the Bismarck community so BSD has taken a proactive approach for the school setting. We want to do our part to support our community and work toward an even greater Bismarck.