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Germantown parents protest reassignment of SRO

Jan 30, 2022 6:00 am

Natasha Vaughn-Holdridge is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media parents from the Germantown Central School District January 28, protested outside the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office in response to the reassignment of school resource officers. The deputy changes will take place January 31. An online petition against the sheriff's actions has been signed by nearly 1,200 people. Columbia County Sheriff Donald J. Krapf and Undersheriff Jaqueline Salvatore met with about two dozen parents and community members in the parking lot, who were there to voice concerns about the changes. Deputy Ted Blank has been the school resource officer assigned to Germantown since the spring of 2020. “For us, we want our children’s safety. And part of that safety is having a trusting adult that works to earn their trust and make them feel safe in the school...," said Cheryl Werner, the protest organizer and mother of two. Suzette Haas, also the mother of two Germantown students, said, “There is no one better equipped right now to deal with safety issues at Germantown than our current SRD. He knows the building like the back of his hand. ...If there is an emergency, he has the best ability to deal with it.” Krapf, who took office on January 1, said his department has been reevaluating many programs and reviewing data. “The resident deputy program was never meant to be a permanent program, having a resident deputy in one school for an unlimited amount of time,” he said. “I think it’s important that they see other schools, that they see how other districts work.” The protesters questioned the wisdom of making a change in the middle of the school year and several asked the sheriff to hold off until the end of the year. Krapf said there were certain things the parents did not understand, and he would not speak to them about personnel. "...This is something we feel is necessary at this time. And unfortunately, Monday this is going to happen. I can’t tell you for how long, it may be a very short duration,” he said. Salvatore added, “We’re not saying it’s going to be permanent. We don’t know how long it’s going to be, that’s what we’re saying...” Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.