State law authorizes the placement of local law enforcement or security personnel and establishes clear guidelines and safeguards regarding the appropriate role of officers on school campuses.
South Carolina Code of Laws 5-7-12 School resource officers; procedures for certain arrests; jurisdiction; employment rights.
(A) The governing body of a municipality or county may upon the request of another governing body or of another political subdivision of the State, including school districts, designate certain officers to be assigned to the duty of a school resource officer and to work within the school systems of the municipality or county. The person assigned as a school resource officer shall have statewide jurisdiction to arrest persons committing crimes in connection with a school activity or school-sponsored event. In all circumstances in which a school resource officer arrests a student for a misdemeanor offense, the officer may issue a courtesy summons to appear to a student involved in the particular incident in connection with a school activity or school-sponsored event. Notwithstanding another provision of law, a student arrested for a misdemeanor offense by a school resource officer must have a bond hearing in magistrates court within twenty-four hours of his arrest. When acting pursuant to this section and outside of the sworn municipality or county of the school resource officer, the officer shall enjoy all authority, rights, privileges, and immunities, including coverage under the workers’ compensation laws that he would have enjoyed if operating in his sworn jurisdiction. (B) For purposes of this section, a “school resource officer” is defined as a person who is a sworn law enforcement officer pursuant to the requirements of any jurisdiction of this State, who has completed the basic course of instruction for School Resource Officers as provided or recognized by the National Association of School Resource Officers or the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy, and who is assigned to one or more school districts within this State to have as a primary duty the responsibility to act as a law enforcement officer, advisor, and teacher for that school district.
South Carolina Code of State Regulations 43-210 School Resource Officers
I. Expectations for School Resource Officers in South Carolina Public Schools School resource officers are necessary to provide law enforcement services to a safe learning environment. School resource officers shall act in accordance with policies and procedures of the local law enforcement agency or employing local governmental entity to enforce state laws and county and municipal ordinances.
II. Resource Officers Defined A school resource officer is defined in S.C. Code Ann § 5-7-12.
III. Role of the School Resource Officer A. Law Enforcement Officer
- School resource officers shall not only be called to respond to criminal incidents, but also to assist in emergency crisis planning, building security, and training school personnel on handling crisis situations.
B. Law-Related Educator
- Teachers and staff shall utilize school resource officers within the classroom to help design and present law-related topics regarding the role of law enforcement in our society.
C. Community Liaison
- School administrators shall encourage school resource officers’ visibility within the school community, as well as attendance and participation at school functions, to build working relationships with school personnel, students, and parents.
D. Positive Role Model
- School resource officers shall be positive role models and may be used to promote the profession of law enforcement as a career choice for students. School administrators shall support positive interactions between school resource officers and students on school campuses.
IV. Procedures A. Student Behavior
School resource officers are not school disciplinarians and shall not ordinarily be requested or permitted to intervene in school discipline matters. The school resource officers shall be called when a student’s behavior amounts to a Level III violation for which law enforcement involvement is required (see Regulation 43-279). School resource officers shall be called to respond to any misconduct when
- the conduct is criminal, or
- the conduct presents an immediate safety risk to one or more people.
In addition, school administrators must also contact law enforcement consistent with S.C. Code Ann. 59-24-60.
When law enforcement referrals are required, a school resource officer shall be the first line of contact for local law enforcement to ensure that the matter is resolved expeditiously to decrease significant interruption to the learning process.
B. General provision for visitors, employees, and unauthorized persons.
- The school resource officer shall be called immediately to handle a disturbance or emergency as defined in S.C. Code Ann. 16-17-420.
V. Memorandum of Understanding Prior to placing a school resource officer at a school or in a district office, a memorandum of understanding must be executed between the school district, and the employing local law enforcement agency. The role of the school district, individual schools, local law enforcement agency, school administration, and the school resource officer shall be clearly defined in the memorandum of understanding. The role of the school resource officer must clearly be defined pursuant to S.C. Code Ann 5-7-12 and in the memorandum of understanding. The provisions of this regulation and Regulation 43-279 must be included in the memorandum of understanding.
The school district shall provide the school administration with a copy of the memorandum of understanding, and review it with the school administration and with the school resource officer prior to the start of every school year.