WMBF Investigates: How many schools are lacking school resource officers?

WMBF Investigates: How many schools are lacking school resource officers?

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - South Carolina schools are struggling against a staff shortage.

Not only are there vacancies for teachers, but many schools go without a full-time school resource officer to keep students safe.

A list was compiled by the State Department of Education from a survey sent to all school districts in the state.

It shows which responding districts have SROs and which do not. According to state education officials, the results were put together March 23.

WMBF News Investigates dug through more than 1,200 schools worth of data from across the state and broke down the numbers for the local area by district.

In Darlington County, every single school has either a part-time or a full-time school resource officer. Of the 25 schools, only two reported having part-time SROs.

Dillon County School District 3 reported full-time officers in all schools, while Dillon County School District 4 noted there were five full-time officers and two part-time officers.

In Florence School District 1, six schools reported full-time resource officers, two schools reported part-time SROs and 12 schools reported having none.

Florence School District 2 reports two part-time officers in its schools, while Florence School 3 noted there were three full-time SROs, one part-time officer and four schools that didn't have one.

Florence School District 4 reported all schools have full-time officer, while Florence School District 5 reports one has a full-time SRO and two have none.

In Georgetown County, the district reports five schools have full-time officers, 10 schools have part-time officers and only one school does not have an officer.

Marion County reports five schools with full-time officers and five schools with no officers. Meanwhile, Marlboro County reports three schools have full-time officers while four schools have none.

Finally, Horry County Schools report 17 schools with full-time officers, 20 schools with part-time officers and 22 schools with no SROs.

However, in June 2017, the district made a change for schools in unincorporated areas of the county. SROs from the Horry County Police Department were replaced with a private security company.

Then, in January of this year, the Horry County School Board approved the placing of armed security guards in elementary schools as well.

A spokesperson for the district previously said some of those guards are already in schools and the whole process is expected to be complete by the start of next school year.

WMBF News reached out to the district to find out if the schools without SROs in the newly released report are the same schools where private security guards took over.

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