The Meramec Valley R-III School District is joining other districts in eastern Missouri in a program that involves Missouri state troopers making random walk-throughs of school buildings.

These walk-throughs have been in place in other parts of Missouri for the last three years, but now they are starting in this area.

Highway Patrol Troop C, which covers zones and school districts from Bowling Green to Perryville, adopted the program after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

At the request of Troop C, Dr. Jeremy Way and Dr. Terri Parks, Meramec Valley co-interim superintendents, have granted permission for the troopers to walk the halls during school hours beginning this fall.

Dr. Way presented a copy of a letter that was sent to parents explaining the program at the May 16 school board meeting.

Troopers will stop by at random times during their shifts to walk the hallways, and greet and interact with students and staff.

In addition, troopers will present programs about safety and state laws to students, Dr. Way said.

The program is not part of any study, safety concern or worry related to any pre-existing safety problem within the district, the letter to parents stated.

Instead, Way said he hopes parents and guardians will join district officials in welcoming the presence of local state troopers as part of the community and view the program as an opportunity to enhance the elements of the district’s existing school safety plan.

The program does not cost the school district anything, officials noted. It does not replace the existing resource officer program, but adds to school security.

Benefits include an added level of security for children and the opportunity for students to interact with state troopers in a positive learning environment.

The program will enhance the elements of the existing school safety plan, Way said.