SROs helping families navigate unchartered school year
If you see a uniformed officer at your door, is it always a bad thing?
Absolutely not, said Lt. Chad Dorning, a School Resource Officer at LCHS and supervisor of Lawrence County’s 12 other SROs.
SROs from every school have been making “Front Porch Visits” at homes across the county, he explained.  “We are serving as the ‘legs’ of the schools, so to speak.  We’re not there in a law enforcement capacity. We’re only there to check on the safety and security of our students.”
In this very unusual year, parents were asked to choose between two systems of education. One combines two days of weekly school attendance with remote assignments; the other is completely remote. SROs are checking on students who are not participating in either option, or whose attendance at one or the other is spotty or nonexistent.
Enter the SROs, who are knocking on doors to make sure internet or computer problems are the only issues facing these students. They are there to help, not scold kids or parents.
 “Lawrence County Schools is fortunate to have School Resource Officers in each school,” said interim Director of Schools Michael Adkins.  “These men and women serve in a variety of roles to ensure faculty, staff, and student safety. With the COVID-19 Pandemic, school systems in the state and around the nation are using resources in a variety of ways. The Lawrence County School System believes in providing our students and parents with the best educational opportunities during this difficult time.”
Adkins adds that Front Porch visits are nothing new. “SROs assist our educators with visits and to provide any additional resources the student or family may need. This is not a new practice. LCSS has always contacted parents, visited homes, and sought other assistance to ensure our students have access to the curriculum.” 
The SROs also view it as a way to build relationships, Lt. Dorning said. In fact, the Lawrence County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition and its partners are providing Front Porch Fun Packs, filled with age-appropriate items (Play-Doh and sidewalk chalk, for instance), healthy snacks and a list of resources for parents. If you would like to partner with LCSAP and the SROs in this project, call 931-244-5533.
Sheriff John Myers also assures families the SROs are visiting in order to provide support, not criticism. “Their uniforms just show they have the authority to help our students in a lot of different ways. I hope parents won’t think they’re in trouble when an SRO knocks on their door.”
“It’s important that everyone be kind and work together in this time when our school routine is so unfamiliar,” said Nicole Miller, DEC Coordinator for LCSAP. “It is all about what is best for these children and helping them achieve their goals by removing any obstacles they may face. So if parents, SROS and the schools are all in this together then that is 100% possible!”