May 12, 2014
Marco Island Charter Middle School is such a successful and “A” rated school in large part because of the unique community in which it exists. MICMS and our students are a large part of the culture and community of Marco Island and the culture and community of Marco Island are a large part of us. We organize community events and educate our residents’ children, and the community, in turn, supports and participates in our school events. Our school works to best serve our residents, and our residents generously support our school.
An important part of keeping our children safe, secure and happy is our relationship with the Marco Island Police Department and specifically, our School Resource Officer, Al Schettino. Officer Schettino has done an amazing job of building relationships with the children and parents; he knows who they are and is able to diffuse and help with any situations that occur because he knows and works in our community. Our children are only at school for part of the day; for the rest of their day they are out and about in our community. They respond to and trust Officer Schettino and the other Marco Island Police Officers because they see them out in the community where they live. There have been many times that Officer Schettino has provided our principal and staff with invaluable support and has been able to step in and prevent a situation from becoming unsafe or harmful because he understands the story behind what is going on and the children have built up a relationship with him and trust him. He has kept our children feeling safe and secure. We do not have a history of safety issues at our school, but when we need him or other members of the Marco Island Police Department, they have been there immediately and we are truly grateful for their help and for the necessary service they provide.
When we asked why a Collier County Sheriff Department Resource Officer was being assigned to our school, we were told that it was a budgetary matter, and that the Collier County Sheriff Department’s Resource Officer would eventually (as in, by next school year) replace our local Marco Island School Resource Officer in order to help balance the Marco Island Police Department budget and allow for possible cuts in personnel and expenses. Our concern is if the budget of the Marco Island Police Department must be cut, why cut it in a place that affects the safety of the children on our Island? Why not replace another duty on the Island with a Collier County Sheriff Department Deputy? It is so important to our kids to have an officer in our school that is an active and knowledgeable part of our community; it is necessary for the safety and well-being of our students. So as a Board, we are requesting that we keep a Marco Island Police Officer as our School Resource Officer so we can continue to effectively educate our children in a safe environment. As always, we thank the Marco Island Community for continually being so supportive and for being such an important part of our community’s highly successful middle school.
Tarik Ayasun, President for Marco
Island Charter Middle School Board