Typically, schools look to excel in all topics, but when it comes to school related crimes, they hope they fail. Houston County Schools have had a limited number of school related crimes in the past year and they are hoping to continue it this upcoming school year.
“We don’t take it lightly when students are on the verge of doing something disruptive at the school or that may even be criminal in behavior,” explained Tim Wilder, Superintendent of Dothan City Schools. “They know that we don’t put up with that and I think the message that our school board has sent resounds across the system and I think people know before they do something silly they may think about the consequence and I think that helps too.”
Wilder oversees more than 9,000 students, so to make sure they all are on their best behavior he relies on his law enforcement friends.
“We have a great relationship with the Dothan police department they do great work for us, we are so privileged and proud to have them on our side.”
Student resource officers or SRO’s have been in Dothan City Schools and Houston County Schools since the 1990’s. They’re there to keep students safe in case of an emergency but it’s possible that their presence has helped crime rates stay low.
“It can’t stop everything from happening but visibility with our administrators and our support staff and SRO's and the fact that we don’t take a lot of mess from people, if we see it coming we are proactive and I think that helps a lot.”
According to Juvenile Court Services, between August 2013 and May 2014, the only major crimes reported out of Dothan and Houston County Schools was disorderly conduct mostly fights. In total there were only 35 complaints, and only half of them were referred from the two school systems.
“We want the kids to have a safe atmosphere to go to school at, we want them to know that if they need assistance that the school system is there for them and law enforcement is there for them but their primary result is their parents and that is why we work hand in hand with them as well,” said Captain Antonio Gonzalez of the Houston County Sheriff’s Department.
A partnership that is necessary to keep the peace at school.
“I think what it is, is the conjunction of the working relationship between the school system and law enforcement community, working with them, your working together to keep the peace within the community.