Steve Maxwell, a candidate for Spotsylvania County Sheriff, wrote a letter about school security in light of the incident at Riverbend High School. Below is the letter from Mr. Maxwell.
It has been brought to our attention that there was a fight at Riverbend High School in Spotsylvania VA that involved several students. The fight, which occurred Tuesday January 17th, was a violent assault upon numerous students by other students while going about their morning routines inside the school. Upon review of the video your station has aired, and upon our own investigation into the incident, we have discovered that this altercation was a direct result of a previous incident at basketball game.
There is also video evidence that the school resource officer (SRO) was not available during the melee, but was outside of the school building. It has also been discovered that the Spotsylvania County Sheriff has pulled resources from the schools due to a lack of minimum staffing at the Sheriff’s Department. It is our opinion that the lack of Deputies in the school exacerbated the incident. If there were a permanent, continuous presence of an SRO, that person would have known about the previous incident that remained volatile (the basketball game), they could have then asked for additional resources to back up the Officer that was performing duties outside the building where they may have prevented the fight on January 17th.
A solution for this type of senseless incident lies with proper staffing within the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Department that the school has already asked and paid for which is written out in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the 2022-23 school year. The real culprit here lies with the improper staffing issues with the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office. We believe that real and honest communication from the Sheriff to the School Superintendent and Board, instead of what appears to be party politics, would greatly improve the staffing issues for our underserved schools. The continuous pull-out of SROs from school functions after the conservative School Board was elected as stated by the current Sheriff in numerous interviews, has been of great detriment to our children. An administrator at the Sheriff’s Department stated to the schools that they have to pull SROs because of the lack of minimum staffing levels within the Sheriff’s Department, and they cannot provide agreed upon SRO staff any longer.
We hope that an appeal to the sitting Sheriff to change his policies and reinstate the full MOU to the Spotsylvania School system will allow for a better safety and security response to our children and staff of Spotsylvania County Schools.
Candidate for Spotsylvania County Sheriff