The Canajoharie Central School District has welcomed Officer Jason Peruzzi as the new school safety officer (SSO) until the end of the school year. Officer Peruzzi’s first day was Monday, April 9.
The Canajoharie village board passed a resolution at its March 8 meeting to fund the position for the school district for the remainder of the 2017-18 school year. The intent is to provide additional security in the schools, and to build positive relationships between students, staff and law enforcement.
Officer Peruzzi is deeply connected to the local community. He is a lifelong district resident and alumnus who graduated from CCSD in 2003. He has 11 years of experience working in law enforcement, including seven years with the Canajoharie Police Department. He has also worked for the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office and the Fort Plain Police Department. He attended police academy at Cazenovia College.
“It is an honor and a privilege to serve and protect the school district where I received my education,” he says.
Officer Peruzzi is personally invested in the success and safety of the district as the father of a future Cougar: he has a two-year-old son. He is a board member for the Canajoharie Youth Center, his father owns Peruzzi’s Meat Market in the village, and he is a former village board member.
“As a police officer, I have interactions with children on a daily basis, but this position represents an opportunity for me to be their ally on a personal level,” he says. “I look forward to getting to know all of the students and to giving an added layer of security to our schools.”
Peruzzi will be present in all three school buildings on a rotating schedule, with walkthroughs each day in all three school buildings. He will be present during lunch periods so he may build positive relationships with the students and staff.
The duties of the SSO include building relationships and mentoring students, providing informal counseling upon request, and conducting classroom presentations. Under an agreement between the police department and the school district, the SSO will act as a resource for students, parents and teachers in the following capacity:
The SSO will be accessible to interact with students, teachers and parents.
The SSO will be available to present to individual classrooms on topics such as career choices, drug and alcohol prevention, legal implications of certain acts, forensics, civil service examinations and bullying.
The SSO will take part in investigations where and when necessary.
The SSO will assist in maintaining safety and security in the hallways, locker areas, play areas and outside the perimeter of the building.
The SSO will be available to meet with students on an as-needed basis.
The SSO will act as a link between the school and the probation department.
The SSO will be available for other duties and activities as may be appropriate and set forth by the superintendent of schools.
The Canajoharie Central School District Board of Education approved the creation a school safety officer position on March 29. The decision came after approximately 400 people completed a survey about establishing the position, with approximately 85 percent of them in support of it.
As the SSO, Officer Peruzzi will not wear a full uniform, rather he will wear khakis and the police department’s bike patrol shirt, with a vest and holster that is specifically designed for safety.
If this pilot program is successful, the school district will pursue funding for the continuation of the SSO position.
If parents have any questions or comments, they should not hesitate to reach out to Superintendent Deborah Grimshaw or their child’s school building principal.