The Lima City Schools has started a K-9 program that will aid in safety and security and do much more for students and staff.
The district is getting four K-9s that will be paired with school resource officers. The dogs will reside with the officers and come to work with them each day.
While only four of the officers have K-9s, they will be visible in all of the district’s buildings, and at school and community events.
The K-9s will be trained to detect narcotics and gun powder, but will not be trained in aggression or be used in an aggressive manner. Officials believe they will add a sense of security for students and staff and act as a deterrent for drugs and weapons being brought into schools.
The K-9s will also be used as therapy dogs. Research shows that animals can be very therapeutic for students dealing with trauma. They help relieve stress and calm children and can provide a sense of comfort, confidence and companionship.
The K-9s will also spend time listening to students read to them. Children who read to animals tend to enjoy reading more and get better at it. Increasing reading proficiency will benefit academics across the district.
“These K-9s will be a huge part of what we do daily in our buildings,” said Nate Garlock, director of safety and security. “Our school resource officers have created programs in their buildings and have formed positive relationships with students. These K-9s will enhance everything they are already successfully doing.”
The district turned to the community to help it name the dogs. Taking suggestions on Facebook, the community was then asked to vote for their final names using Facebook polls.
Two of the dogs pay homage to school buildings of the past: Roosevelt (Rosie) and McKinley (Mac). Another remembers South High School with the name Tiger. The final dog is named Scarlet, paying tribute to Lima Senior’s scarlet and grey.
The district has secured grant funding to pay for three of the K-9s. It is seeking sponsors for the final one. The cost of the K-9, training and required equipment is $7,500. Big R, Ed Pro and Peacock Water have already committed to assisting.
Businesses or individuals interesting in sponsoring the program, should call Garlock at 419-996-3245.