If you don’t know what a SRO is, you will
The ordinary day suddenly wasn’t ordinary. And like any ordinary day that suddenly wasn’t ordinary, this one felt weird, unnerving.
I had pulled into a high school parking lot to a find a phone number on my cell phone. I wanted to be off the main road to do this.
Slowly driving past the school’s front entrance just after 9:30 AM, I knew who he was and what he was doing. He was the school’s SRO, the School Resource Officer. The guy with a gun. The one hired to keep school students safe in this new world of fear and tragedy.
What felt weird was that his eyes scanned me, a minister dude in a pick-up truck simply passing through with a cell phone in my right hand. Doing his job, the SRO wondered what he should have wondered: “Is this guy a minister dude, or a threat? Is that a cell phone he is holding, or something else?”
Have you felt this scan or uneasy feeling when you’ve carried a big purse or box into a school? Will you feel this when, in a few months, you’re wearing a bulky winter coat that could easily be concealing something other than your keys, spare change, lip balm and wallet?
I am in favor of safety. I support all efforts to make public buildings safer for us all.
But how safe is safe? Should two-story schools have two SROs? How about additional SROs at entrances and exits? Bars on classroom windows, or no windows at all? A kennel of mean-looking German Shepherds right beside the school maintenance building?
Hmm. I like German Shepherds. A lot. My family had one when I was a kid. And I like SROs and school administrations who care so much for their students’ wellness that measures to ensure public safety make the top of their already long “to do” lists not now and again, but every single day.
What is safety, really? High-tech vehicles with onboard computers that dim your high beams and break for you when you suddenly come too close to the car in front of you? These advancements make us safer, but is this safety?
The energy we put into feeling safe as a society and as individuals is something I don’t want to see diminish. What I do want to see increase, however, is understanding what safety really is. No measure of safety is 100% effective at life-saving, unless you’re talking about Jesus.
If you are not yet familiar with the letters SRO, you will be. We talk, see, and now experience so much about safety that I think it is time we swap out one two-syllable ‘s’ word for another.
As much as we focus on our safety, we should focus on our Savior, who, out of His love for us, truly saves us not just when we pass a school lobby with or without a cell phone in hand, but for eternity.
The blog first appeared in The Susquehanna Independent on September 26, 2018.