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Security of Buffalo Public Schools

Police respond to McKinley High School
Posted at 7:39 PM, Feb 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-10 19:56:51-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Buffalo Schools have school resource officers (SRO) and security guards. According to Buffalo Police it was a security guard who was shot outside McKinley High School on Wednesday, along with a student who was stabbed.

The difference between SRO's and security guards is that security guards are hired by the district on the district's budget. SRO's are hired by Buffalo Police, and are on the city's budget.

"[SRO's] bring in a wealth of knowledge, because they are highly trained in counseling, highly trained in mentoring, highly trained in working with our children and cultures," said Terrance Heard, Buffalo School Board Member.

Heard said an SRO focuses on deescalating a situation as a familiar face, and works with students to avoid conflicts.

We reached out to Buffalo Public Schools on Thursday morning for statistics on how many SRO's and security officers are in schools, but have not yet heard back.

"[SRO's] do a tremendous job, and some of those officers have dedicated their lives to our children," explained Heard. "Some teach sports, some stay after school for after school programs and their job is 24 hours. When they get a call, they're always on scene and they have a great relationship with kids."

Heard joined the school board after incidents at his son's high school in Buffalo, and says more needs to be done to get to the root of a child's behavior.

"We have to get into the homes of the children and find out what's going on inside their home, the underlying problems, so we can address those issues to address that child, so the child doesn’t bring those behaviors into the class or building," said Heard.

Last year Buffalo Schools did away with off-duty police officers in buildings, after many in the community, including Heard expressed interest in doing so.

"Overwhelmingly the community said 'no we don’t want officers in our schools,'" said Heard.

According to EdWeek.org, 2022 has now seen 10 shootings on school property, 8 have been outside, including Wednesday's in Buffalo.

The violence goes back to 1971, when a shooting at McKinley Vocational killed one, according to the K-12 Shooting Database.

The 7 News I-Team collected data on weapon possessions from New York State's "School Safety and Educational Climate (SSEC) Incidents"

2019-20: *Pandemic shortened school year
Buffalo Public Schools
Assaults w/ Physical injury: 32 (2 at McKinley High School)
Assaults w/ Serious injury: 0
Weapon Possessions: 70 (9 at McKinley High School)

2018-19:
Buffalo Public Schools
Assaults w/ Physical injury: 113 (10 at McKinley High School)
Assaults w/ Serious injury: 5
Weapon Possessions: 122 (9 at McKinley High School*)

2017-18: 
Buffalo Public Schools
Assaults w/ Physical injury: 188 (8 at McKinley High School)
Assaults w/ Serious injury: 2
Weapon Possessions: 152 (11 at McKinley High School)

2016-17:
Buffalo Public Schools
Assaults w/ Physical injury: 74 (7 at McKinley High School)
Assaults w/ Serious injury: 9
Weapon Possessions: 155 (6 at McKinley High School)

2015-16
Buffalo Public Schools
Assaults w/ Physical injury: 94 (1 at McKinley High School)
Assaults w/ Serious injury: 11
Weapon Possessions: 209 (3 at McKinley High School)