Other Resource Officers Fear Fallout Over Officer Accused Of “Sexting” Teens


UPDATED: Tuesday July 31, 2012 7:22 PM

The recent allegations against a former Centennial High School resource officer has one officer worried that the trust he has established within the community could be in jeopardy.

When Hilliard Davidson High School Resource Officer Ron Burkitt walks the halls, he makes sure his students address him as an officer and not a friend.

“I don’t answer to Ron, I don’t answer to ‘B,’” said Burkitt. “I don’t answer to that.”

After 12 years on the job, Burkitt knows it is important to set a tone at the school. He said it goes beyond greetings and salutations.

“If I were to contact a student I would use my city cell phone not my personal phone,” Burkitt said. “I don't have texting on my city cell phone.”

Burkitt said that the recent arrest of Todd L. Smith, who served as a school resource officer at Centennial High School during the 2011-12 school year, was accused of “sexting” a teenage girl and having sexual contact with another, made him worried.

“When they come to school in late august they're going to transfer that to me, and I didn't do anything,” Burkitt said. “I didn't deserve that and my hope is that won't cause an issue.”
The Ohio School Resource Officer Association helps teach SRO's the do's and don'ts of their jobs. It strongly suggests that personal cell phone numbers never be given to students.

The association teaches that inappropriate texts received by a school resource officer from a student should be reported to the school principal immediately. The association always says that any meeting with a student after school hours should be conducted with a Principal or Assistant Principal present.

Burkitt said that the rules regarding school resource officers are not always set in stone and that it is up to the officer to conduct himself in a way that will not bring dishonor to the badge.

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