Worthington City Council will introduce legislation to extend a school-resource-officer agreement with Worthington Schools, according to its Monday, July 1, meeting agenda.
According to materials included with the agenda, the school district has requested the agreement to be extended for three years.
A year ago, the school board voted to reverse a longstanding policy on SROs, putting full-time officers on school grounds at Thomas Worthington and Worthington Kilbourne high schools for the first time.
In a letter included with the July 1 agenda, Assistant Superintendent Randy Banks outlined the effect Thomas Worthington resource officer Sean Ord has had on the school community.
“He focused on building relationships with students and staff,” Banks said. “There were very few issues that arose from his presence, and frankly, were less significant because of his strength and focus area than they would have been with an officer called to assist.”
Banks said students have been comfortable approaching Ord, and the animosity toward police in the building that he once observed has disappeared.
“In my first couple of years, it was not uncommon for students to call police officers names or mistreat them,” he said. “Students would sometimes play ‘anti-police songs’ at bus duty. That type of behavior has pretty much disappeared.”
The Columbus Division of Police officer assigned to Worthington Kilbourne High School for the 2018-19 school year was Steven Steenburgh.
Thomas Worthington uses an officer from Worthington because the building is within its city limits and the jurisdiction of Worthington police, district spokeswoman Vicki Gnezda said last year. Worthington Kilbourne is in Columbus city limits and within the jurisdiction of Columbus police.
Linworth Alternative Program, where high school students also are enrolled, did not have an SRO, Gnezda said.
The council meeting will be at 7 p.m. July 1 in the Worthington Municipal Building, 6550 High St.