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Local

Kaneland parents, staff bring school resource officer issue to County Board

GENEVA – Parents, staff members and a recent graduate from Kaneland and Central high schools Aug. 9 called upon the Kane County Board to reinstate their school resource officers by the time the academic year begins in two weeks.

“As a parent, I do not understand why this is a question,” Kaneland parent C.J. Conley said during public comment. “This is critical.”

Kane County Sheriff Donald Kramer, who did not address the issue publicly, said in the hallway afterward that, pending a signed agreement, the schools will share an officer starting on the first day of school. As a supplement, he said, officers on patrol also will stop by the schools.

He said the arrangement isn’t a matter of him not caring about students’ safety.

“There’s nobody who cares more about kids than I do,” Kramer said.

Nor is the situation a financial one, he said.

“I don’t have the personnel,” he said, noting he faces 17 vacancies due to such issues as workers’ compensation, military leave, retirements and resignations.

Providing the schools with an officer to share was, in his opinion, an “olive branch,” Kramer said.

Kaneland School District 302 Superintendent Todd Leden said it is “past the point of frustration” and time for a solution to have an officer in both schools. Representatives from the schools spoke about the value of having an officer in their building.

Diane McFarlin, Kaneland High School’s assistant principal, said the officer has “saved lives through her work” and has established trusting relationships with at-risk students and their families.

Kaneland Principal Jill Maras said she has “found great comfort” in having an officer at her school, adding “one can’t truly put a price tag” on the officer’s value.

Landon Mosley, a recent Kaneland graduate, said fights are prevented by having an officer in the hallways, and the officer is present to disarm potential perpetrators during lockdowns.

The County Board didn’t take any action on the issue, but member Drew Frasz asked Kramer to reinstate the officers for the first day of school.

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