MUNCIE — Muncie Community Schools will pay a private security firm to provide school resource officers starting next academic year.
The district's Board of Trustees on Tuesday approved a proposal from Legacy Life Security which outlines a security plan under which a director of security will be employed to oversee eight school resource officers.
"It's a better option for us than (a) traditional SRO program," said Andy Klotz, chief communications officer for Muncie Community Schools.
It came the same day over a dozen children and two adults were fatally shot at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
The plan states:
- Three SROs will serve Muncie Central High School
- Two SROs will serve Northside Middle School
- Two SROs will serve Southside Middle School
- One SRO will serve the district's six elementary schools on a rotating schedule.
Legacy Life owner and operator Robert Scaife wrote in a March 31 proposal to the district that he was asked to fill in as a school resource officer after students at Muncie Central High School staged a protest in November. It stemmed from a class assignment that created a "disruptive discussion" between a student and school resource officers.
"The decision by local and surrounding police departments to remove their officers from and/or forbid their officers to serve as SROs at Muncie Central High School left our district with no other choice but to send students home for eLearning; an alternative that proved unsuccessful, for most students during the heaviest part of the COVID pandemic," Scaife wrote in the proposal.
"The eLearning alternative negatively affected students in our most marginalized communities at higher rates. As a senior pastor in, and resident of a low-income community, this was personally heartbreaking. My congregants, friends, family members, even my own daughter might be more negatively affected. I knew serving for a few months would help, but I was concerned about and compelled by the reality that there needed to be a more permanent solution," he wrote.
Scaife is a 12-year police veteran and former Muncie police detective. He is now a pastor at Union Missionary Baptist Church. He has served as a patrol officer, juvenile detective, criminal investigator and specialist in gang activity, according to the proposal.
SROs will also provide security during school board meetings, also on a rotating basis. During school events outside normal school hours, the firm will collaborate with the district's athletics department and principal.
"(Legacy) provided an impressive plan and are led by a well-respected, experienced leader, Robert Scaife. He has been part of our current security team since Nov. He's simply astounding," Klotz said.
The total cost for the services comes to $675,350 and will be paid through the district's operation fund and an Indiana Homeland Security Foundation grant, according to school board records.
WRTV has reached out to school administration for comment.