Students in the Central Lee School district are noticing a new addition to the staff this school year. Officials said it’s part of their push to make student safety a top priority.
Deputy Tom Oberman is the new school resource officer at Central Lee High School. He’s been talking to students and introduced himself in classrooms to let everyone know he’s here to help keep the school safe in the event of an emergency.
"It’s kinda nice, he makes appearances in the hallway, you see his car out there in the morning, so it’s really nice knowing that he is here," Senior Brooke Finney said.
Oberman is just one of many safety measures that the district wants to put in place to help in the event of an emergency.
"When it comes to us practicing our drills, he will say, that’s not the best way, this is the best way. He is going to take the time to talk to students and teachers," High School Principal Nicole Herdrich said.
Oberman knows his place in the building — to provide a fast response in an emergency. There have already been more than a dozen school shootings around the nation this year.
"All those stories were really scary to hear, just knowing someone is here to help us out in the worse situation is very reassuring," Finney said.
That’s why wants to go the extra mile to make a difference.
"I want to be seen," Oberman said. "Basically I want the kids to know me and be comfortable with me. Those kind of things. I will be doing presentations and anything that the teachers want, that’s what I am here for. Along with some counselling, if a kid wants to talk to me.
Both staff and students said they already feel safer than last year.
"He’s very welcoming and he’s not intimidating like cops would give off," Finney said.
"He cares about people, he cares about kids, he knows where they came from and that’s a big relief off my shoulders," Herdrich said.
His position is being paid half by the county and half by the school district.
Superintendent Andy Crozier said the district would like to make future changes to the building to make it safer, but they need the money to make those changes.
The April bond decision failed to pass and now they are looking to put it on the ballot again, but no date has been set.