TPS school officers a casualty of TPD layoffs

Reported by Lisa Rantala email
Posted by Kate Oatis email

(WTOL) - For the last 10 years, the same Toledo Public Schools resource officers have shown up to the same 12 schools to work with students.

But Toledo Public Schools Superintendent John Foley got the call Monday that all 12 officers will be gone as of May 1 due to the Toledo Police Dept. layoffs.

Woodward is one of seven high schools with its own school resource officer, and a very popular one, it seems.

"They take all the students that skip, beat, fight, anything. They take them downtown and give them their consequences," said freshman Andrew Gareau, who even knows the officer by name. "Officer Shainer is the TPD officer here. She is helping the school out a lot better."

Turns out Shainer had a heart-to-heart with Gareau, saying he was going down the wrong path.

"One day, I got in a little trouble. They sat down, talked to me, made me a different person," Andrew said.

A great experience for Andrew, but, according to Foley, "This is a reality. When you're cutting this many officers, certainly (schools) can't afford to have school resource officers in place."

TPS paid for half of the officer salaries for the nine months they worked at the schools each year. Foley says the district will use the rest of those funds to hire off duty officers on a projecting basis following the layoffs.

Foley expects to have enough money to hire those replacements through June 5, the last day of school.

"It's not to say that our schools are unsafe, it's just another set of eyes that are certainly a benefit to us," Foley said.

As for a longterm solution, the district will re-evaluate its budget and wait to see if those laidoff officers will be reinstated.

That's the solutions students at Woodward are hoping for.

"May 1, when she gets yanked, I really think that the school is going to change. A lot of people are going to think they can do whatever they want," Andrew said.