Canajoharie hires school safety officer


CANAJOHARIE — Canajoharie Central School District appointed its School safety officer as Jason Peruzzi. He began the position on Monday and will continue to be the SSO until the end of the school year.

According to the press release, Peruzzi is deeply connected to the local community. He is a lifelong district resident and alumnus who graduated from CCSD in 2003 and attended police academy at Cazenovia College.

Peruzzi 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.

“It is an honor and privilege to serve and protect the school district where I received my education,” Peruzzi said.

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,” Peruzzi said. “I look forward to getting to know all of the students and to giving an added layer of security to our schools.”

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.

The SSO will be accessible to interact with students, teachers and parents. He 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 exams and bullying. The SSO will assist in maintaining safety and security in the hallways, locker areas, play areas and outside the perimeter of the building and will take part in investigations when necessary. He will be available to meet with students on an as-need basis and will act as a link between the school and the probation department. The SSO will be available for other duties and activities that the superintendent of schools finds appropriate.

Peruzzi will not be wearing a full uniform. His uniform as SSO will be khakis, a police department’s bike patrol shirt with a vest and gun safety holster.

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 school year. This is to provide additional security in the school, and to build positive relationships between students, staff and law enforcement.

The Canajoharie Central School District Board of Education approved of the SSO on March 29. The decision came after approximately 400 people completed a survey, with about 85 percent of them in support of the position.

This is a pilot program and if is deemed successful, the school district will pursue funding for the continuation of the SSO program.

If parents have any questions or comments, they can reach out to Superintendent Deborah Grimshaw or their child’s school building principal.

By Paul Wager

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