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Back to school?

Board eyes reinstatement of school liaison

December 01, 2010 - Brandon Twp.- The school district has not had a police liaison officer since the board cut the position in July.

Now, more than three months into the school year, the district is feeling the effects of his absence and building principals have brought concerns to Superintendent Lorrie McMahon about not having the school liaison officer.

"He defuses stressful situations, he works with families, he investigates lots of things going on, he spends needed time at all the buildings," said McMahon during the finance committee meeting Tuesday. "His position is one that if he's doing the job well, we shouldn't even know he's there. He interferes to keep things from happening. We miss that."

McMahon requested that finance committee members Greg Allar, Luke Frye and Debbie Schummer take a recommendation to the full school board to bring back the school liaison officer for six months, the remainder of this school year, effective immediately. The move would cost the district about $50,000.

Allar was in agreement with bringing back the school liaison officer, but Frye and Schummer said they "had pain" with such a decision.

"Is it worthwhile for a six-month period?" asked Frye. "We may not have the money next year... Anything we reinstate is short-term because we know we're going to have to cut again."

"I want him in the buildings, but we're asking so many other people to give, a lot," said Schummer. "That's a lot of money for six months."

McMahon said she looks at the liaison officer as value added to the district and said he keeps kids in school and out of trouble, adding to student achievement.

Oakland County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Pete Burkett, Brandon substation commander, said, "Without having our eyes and ears in there with a liaison officer, we haven't been able to effectively take care of incidents occurring in the schools. We're nowhere near as effective as we were when we had a deputy there. Now when we get calls, they get different officers responding who aren't trained to handle school-type situations and we don't have the personal touch we would have with a dedicated school liaison officer."

Reinstatement of the school liaison officer will be on the school board agenda at the next regular board meeting set for 6:30 p.m., Dec. 13, at the central district office, 1025 S. Ortonville Road.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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