Officer Tom Ksiazek
The School Resource Officer (SRO) program was initiated in September of 1999 with the approval and cooperation of the Abington Heights School District and South Abington Township. This pilot program was the first SRO program in Lackawanna County and has become a very effective tool in combating school violence and curtailing drug and alcohol abuse.
A School Resource Officer is defined as any fully sworn officer who is assigned to work within the school environment not only as a law enforcement officer, but as a counselor/mentor and a teacher and guest speaker. Beyond these identified roles, SRO's are positive role models for many students who are not exposed to such role models in today's society. With a daily population of nearly 1,300 students, Abington Heights High School is not just a school, but a small community.
The concept behind the SRO program is simple: to put another positive role model in the schools to help with children at risk; to provide specialized teaching and instruction; to interact with children in an informal setting; and to provide a presence which helps to assure a safe, effecting learning environment. This partnership between the school and law enforcement had proven to be a very effective means for sharing common concerns and providing a united effort in our children's education and well-being.
Throughout the United States each year over 200,000 violent crimes occur on school property and 150,000 students stay home because they are sick of violence and afraid they might be stabbed, shot or beaten. Each day in the U.S. 60 teachers are assaulted and 160 threatened. It is estimated that between 100,000 and 135,000 guns are brought to school each day. During the 1992-1993 school year, 91% of urban schools, 81% of suburban schools, and 69% of rural schools identified student vs. student assaults as the leading school related violent act.
The SRO program at the Abington Heights High School currently staffs Officer Tom Ksiazek of the SATPD, and has been nationally recognized by the Department of Justice as a successful program.