Refugio school officials reinstate safety officer

Three months after a high-profile school shooting in Connecticut that claimed the lives of 20 children, the Refugio school district is reinstating a school safety officer.

The school safety officer position was eliminated before the start of the 2010-11 school year because of budget cuts.

Starting in the fall, the new officer will protect Refugio's elementary, junior high and high school campuses, which have 740 students total, said Refugio superintendent Jack Gaskins.

The position was approved during March's school board meeting. Only one officer will be hired.

"It's a position we had before," said Gaskins. "Our kids are the upmost importance to us, and I'm glad to have the position reinstated."

Refugio Mayor Ray Jaso said an officer was necessary to secure safety in the schools, especially after the growing number of shooting incidents across the country. Jaso said he had no problem with the decision.

"We are definitely for the safety of the kids and teachers," Jaso said. "We want that."

The school safety officer will be a city police officer assigned to oversee the schools, said Gaskins. The officer will be paid by the city, but an agreement is still in the works about the pay.

In the three years when there was no officer assigned to the schools, Gaskins said police were called to the schools as needed.

Gaskins declined to elaborate about the types of incidents that police responded to.