by Heather Colley
A few months ago, the students of Sleepy Hollow High School organized a petition and spoke to the Board of Education about the implementation of a Student Resource Officer (SRO) in the high school, a police officer that serves as a link between the town and the students.
Following recent local events, the teenagers had concerns about the role of the SRO in the high school, mostly concerning the safety of the student body – and many did not believe an SRO was the answer to the problem. But although some members of the community are still opposed to law enforcement within a school environment, it has become clear since the SRO was brought into Sleepy Hollow High School that the school picked the right person to serve a controversial job.
Wendy Yancey is a graduate of Sleepy Hollow and has been working for the Sleepy Hollow Police Department for 10 years. She works closely with Sleepy Hollow athletics as the cheerleading coach, and she is often a supporter at community events. Although Officer Yancey is armed and uniformed in school, she creates a connection with the student body by appearing on the school’s Digital News and helping at events such as the Harlem Wizards basketball performance in the gym.
Speaking to the Sleepy Hollow Digital News reporters, Yancey said, “I’m here to provide guidance to anyone that might need help ranging from dating violence to domestic violence to possible conflict within the school. I’m also here to answer any questions about what it takes to become a police officer- I am here for everyone at Sleepy Hollow.”
Unanimously, Yancey is a great choice for an SRO at Sleepy Hollow. But there are still opponents to the overall concept of law enforcement at Sleepy Hollow High School. Supporters of the petition still maintain that the presence of law enforcement in a high school environment may lead to the criminalization of behaviors previously handled by experienced administrators and guidance counselors. Despite this, Yancey is the best qualified person for this new role at Sleepy Hollow High, and thus far she has been a positive presence within the school district.