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High School News

Officer Ryan Wells Named Waynesville School Resource Officer

Posted on: April 3, 2018
four people of which two are police officers

Officer Ryan Wells named Waynesville School Resource Officer Representatives of Wayne Local Schools and the Village of Waynesville have recently met on several occasions to examine school safety. Out of these meetings came the decision to place a fulltime School Resource Officer on the Wayne Local School campus. Waynesville Police Officer Ryan Wells has been selected for this position. Officer Wells adds another layer to the district’s Ohio Homeland Security reviewed and approved P-20 Safety and Security Emergency Management Plan.

The Wayne Local Board of Education and Waynesville Village Council both voted to proceed with the SRO program during March meetings. The goal of the SRO program is to support a positive school climate and to proactively prevent potential violence. Superintendent Pat Dubbs stated, “Officer Wells will serve the district in multiple capacities; his ability to build relationships will be an asset and key to the program’s success. He is equipped and trained to handle both typical and emergency situations.” Officer Wells will be in full uniform with a patrol car while on duty at our schools. He will have an office with an open-door policy but the majority of the time, Officer Wells will be visible in the buildings as he is building connections and interacting with the students. Officer Wells will help to promote safety and foster positive relationships within our schools; acting as a liaison between students, school staff, law enforcement and community.

Officer Wells states “I was excited to hear about the new position as School Resource Officer. I am hoping that my presence in the schools will give students, parents, and staff peace of mind just knowing that I’m here to watch, prevent, and respond to any issues that may present themselves. Being a father of two, I personally know how important this position is and what an asset to the schools I will be. I am looking forward to the chance to have a positive impact on the young children’s lives. Today’s students face more challenges at a younger age than I did when I was at that stage in my life. I am hoping that my knowledge and life experiences (including the 5 years I’ve served the Waynesville community as a Police Officer) will give me the tools to help direct them when they come to a crossroad and need guidance. Currently, we are beginning to get to know each other and I aim to build a good relationship with the students and staff. Waynesville is a great and unique community and I want the students to know that my door is always open. I am here to just listen, give advice or help them with any issue they may encounter. To continue to serve Waynesville schools to the best off my ability, this summer I will be participating in training focused solely on School Resource Officers. I look forward to continuing to serve this great community and embracing my role as the Waynesville School Resource Officer.”

Waynesville Chief of Police, Gary Copeland, commented “We are very excited in building the relationship with Wayne Local Schools and Waynesville Police Department. It has been a high priority of mine to provide a safe learning environment for Wayne Local Schools which is why I implemented school patrol in 2007.

Students are excited by the SRO presence on campus as evidenced by their reactions:

  • Having Officer Wells here makes me feel safe. Police Officers can usually fix problems if something bad happens. – Abby Buck, 4th grade 
  • I want to feel good that I can walk out of our buildings and be safe. Officer Wells being here will help. – Sam Papanek, 4th grade 
  • I feel like having a police officer in our school is going to have a positive impact. – Emma Landoll, 6th grade
  • I have known Officer Wells since third or fourth grade. Waynesville is a good community, but it is a good thing to have him here. It definitely makes me feel safer. - Tanner Hatmaker, 7th grade
  • I think it’s cool to have a police officer at our school! – Nathan Woody, 8th grade
  • Having an SRO on campus helps to relieve any uncertainty I previously had at Wayne Local Schools. If the unthinkable does happen and there is an attack on our school, I feel much better knowing there is a trained and armed officer already on campus. I truly believe if a potential attacker knows there is a skilled SRO on campus, there is a good chance that will be enough to deter the attack. My only uncertainty with having an SRO is our schools becoming more like a prison than a place to learn. However safety is much more important and I would rather know I am safe than at risk. I am grateful for Wayne Local Schools for making room in the budget and prioritizing our safety by having a SRO. – David Muth, 10th grade
  • As a student, I am behind the implementation of an SRO on our campus, and I personally take much more comfort in this action for the purposes of defense than I would be with arming teachers. – Ezra Harper, 11th grade
  • After sitting in on the school safety forum and multiple meetings talking with our administrators about what they can do, I feel confident that Wayne Local Schools are taking steps in the right direction to ensure the safety of the students and staff. In the meetings, we discussed multiple topics to see what would be the best option for our school to advance in. When discussing, we recognized that Waynesville is small so we may not need the fixes that Mason High School is implementing. We are small, but talking to our principal, Dr. Ison and Superintendent, Mr. Dubbs, I am confident in saying that keeping our schools safe is the number one priority. They have recently made the decision to bring aboard a SRO. Seeing Officer Wells in the hallways brings me a sense of relief and shows me that administrators are taking immediate action to keep me and my peer’s safe. Every day I walk in the doors and I’m not altered by thoughts of danger within the school. I want to personally thank Mr. Dubbs, Dr. Ison and more who have assured me that they are working diligently every day to make sure our schools are safe. – Jen Slyby, 11th grade

At the March board meeting, the Wayne Local Board of Education voted to support and adopt a resolution supporting school safety and eliminate violence in schools.
Resolution Supporting School Safety and Reducing Violence in Schools

WHEREAS, school violence has become an epidemic in the United States of America;

WHEREAS, the children and school employees of our nation deserve to attend school without fear of death or injury, and their families deserve to send them to school without the same fear;

WHEREAS, there is a mutual responsibility of all citizens to address this problem and the responsibility for preventing violent incidents cannot be relegated to school districts alone;

WHEREAS, multiple studies have shown that the majority of Americans support action to eliminate violence in our schools;

WHEREAS, school board members, administrators, employees and community members should work together with lawmakers, legal counsel, law enforcement and security experts to determine how best to ensure student safety in their district;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Wayne Local Board of Education implores the President of the United States, the Governor of the State of Ohio, the United States Congress, and the Ohio General Assembly to prioritize the protection of students and school employees by enacting legislation with funding for the following:

1. Enhanced mental health services and substance abuse treatment so that all individuals, including children, have sufficient access to these services.

2. Increased access to school safety measures, including, but not limited to, School Resource Officers (SROs), school safety infrastructure, and other security measures designed to protect students and staff from an active shooter on school grounds.

3. Training for school employees and enhanced coordination with law enforcement agencies and first responders to ensure appropriate responses to incidents of violence in schools.

4. Preserving the balance between the right to own firearms and the protection of students and school employees from any act of violence. Adopted at the Wayne Local Board of Education meeting on the 12th day of March, 2018

 

WLS Welcomes Officer Wells

police officer sitting at a desk