Although Galion Police Lt. Lynn Sterling began her new position as a school resource officer for Galion City Schools about four weeks ago, the Galion City School District Board of Education voted unanimously to approve a Memorandum of Understanding with the Galion Police Department at the regular board meeting Thursday evening.
Sterling will split her time equally between the high school, middle school and primary school.
“The decision made tonight is a proactive step to provide an even safer learning environment for our students, staff and administrators,” Board of Education President Dennis Long said. “I am excited for the educational programs that Lt. Sterling will be providing for our students and staff.”
Superintendent Jim Grubbs said that Sterling will provide security at the school campus along with education.
This is the first time the school district and City of Galion have collaborated to provide an officer in each of the district’s buildings.
The program first began with a conversation between school district administration and city leadership.
“The communication between the city and school district is ongoing so that we can identify issues and work together to find resolutions,” said Mayor Tom O’Leary during the meeting.
O’Leary said the police department is now fully staffed allowing flexibility for the shift commanders to staff the School Resource Officer program.
“This was a situation of right time, right person for the city and the schools,” O’Leary said. “Lt. Sterling is having lunch with students and discussing issues that concern the students and creating a positive relationship between public safety forces and the community. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
Sterling’s duties as the School Resource Officer will focus on three specific areas: crime prevention, law enforcement and educational programming.
“The protection of the children and staff members is paramount to our department,” police chief Brian Saterfield said. “Lt. Sterling has already made a positive impact by riding buses to deter unruliness, she’s helped teachers resolve classroom issues and is working to help alleviate after school parking issues at the Primary School.”
In addition to her duties during the school year, Sterling will also be responsible for organizing the annual Safety Town program for Galion children. Final details of the program will be announced in the very near future.
“We’ve heard loud and clear the safety concerns from our staff members, parents and the community and believe this program will help provide an even safer learning environment for our students,” Grubbs said. “We are incredibly fortunate to have a Galion graduate in Lt. Sterling serving as our School Resource Officer. She is a fantastic addition to our staff.”
The board also approved the addition of varsity boys and girls soccer, which is sanctioned by the Ohio High School Athletic Association.
“We hope this will retain more students and maybe attract some to our district,” Grubbs said.
Paid positions of a varsity girls’ soccer coach and a varsity boys’ soccer coach will also be added.
The board also voted to add a varsity bowling club to the district for the 2016-2017 school year.
Reach Gasuras on Twitter: @kimberlygasuras