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Mabton schools consider return of SRO

A spate of fights and allegations at Mabton High School may prompt the school district to restore its school resource officer (SRO) post.

During the Mabton School Board meeting on Monday night, Mabton Education Association President Pat Kernan complained of unsafe working conditions at the high school due to ineffective and inconsistent enforcement of school discipline.

Kernan's remarks are in the wake of fights at the high school two weeks ago. In one instance, it was reported 20 students were fighting on school property. According to police reports, it marked the fourth fight in five days involving Mabton High School students.

In another incident from three weeks ago, police reportedly arrested a student at the high school for threatening to shoot a Mabton police officer.

Kernan also referenced Monday night an allegation by a high school teacher that he was assaulted by a student.

In response, Superintendent Minerva Morales yesterday said students were disciplined for their role in the fights.

As for an assault on a teacher, Morales said there are actually dual allegations in the case. "There are allegations by students that they were pushed by this same teacher," she said. "I am in the process of conducting an investigation of the situation."

In response, Morales says there are preliminary budget discussions on possibly bringing back the SRO position for the 2013-14 school year.

The SRO post was eliminated last year due to budget restrictions. The 2012-13 school year is the first without an SRO.

Morales says another catalyst for reviewing security needs and perhaps restoring the school officer is gun violence earlier this year in Newtown, Conn.

"Hopefully we can re-instate the position on at least a part-time basis," she said.

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