by Megan Blutfield
The BOE voted May 20 to maintain a designated School Resource Officer, Westfield Officer Jeffrey Johnson, in the district, according to the meeting minutes.
BOE President Mr. Richard Mattessich said, “The vote is indicative of the Board’s strong belief in the value of having an SRO in the district.”
Said Johnson: “It’s an honor.... I am glad to be coming back to a place where I have always felt at home.”
Both Assistant Principal Mr. Jim DeSarno and Guidance Director Ms. Maureen Mazzarese spoke about the benefits of having an SRO at WHS in a presentation for the BOE, according to the meeting minutes.
According to Principal Mr. Peter Renwick, in addition to improving the safety of WHS, Johnson has become a valuable member of the school community by regularly meeting with students throughout the day and giving presentations on law enforcement.
Added Renwick, “I am extremely pleased that the Board recognizes the value that Officer Johnson brings to Westfield High School and the other schools he supports.”
Said Mattessich, “The Board appreciates that the many desired outcomes originally established for the position over a year ago have come to fruition.”
BOE Member Mr. Mitch Slater was the sole vote in opposition of the reappointment, according to the meeting minutes.
Said Slater in a letter to the Alternative Press: “Please know I have nothing against our current SRO.... Obviously, as a parent, I want all of our schools to be a safe environment. I just do not believe bringing a gun into the school is the smartest way to do it.”
According to nj.com, ever since the shooting in Newtown, many schools have heightened their security.
Said Mattessich, “We look forward to a successful partnership with the SRO next year.”