For school districts in Ohio, one of the most consequential acts passed last year was HB 318. Among other things, the act:
- Established training requirements for school resource officers (SROs).
- Passed the Supporting Alternatives for Fair Education Act regarding implementation of a positive behavior intervention and supports (PBIS) framework and requiring training on PBIS in teacher education programs.
- Made changes to the laws governing suspensions and expulsions.
“Yes, but,” you may be saying to yourself, “this is all old news. HB 318 became effective almost a year ago. Why are we taking this trip down memory lane?”
The answer is that districts had a grace period of one year from HB 318’s effective date (Nov. 2, 2018) to meet one of the requirements in the law. And that one-year grace period expires in just a few weeks.
HB 318 defined SROs as any certified peace officers appointed to serve a school district through a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between a law enforcement agency and the district. The MOU must clarify the purpose of the SRO program, and the roles and expectations of the participating entities.
The upcoming deadline applies to any school districts that were receiving SRO services from law enforcement agencies prior to Nov. 2, 2018. If it has not already done so, any such district must enter into an MOU with the appropriate law enforcement agency before Nov. 2, 2019.
If your district has SROs, now is a good time to make sure that you have entered into an MOU with the law enforcement agency providing the officers. If you don’t have an MOU for your SROs, contact your board’s counsel for guidance on what steps the district must take before the one-year grace period expires. A sample MOU is available on the website for the Ohio School Resource Officers Association.