High school welcomes second resource officer

By Syerra Milliman, Fluco Beat Editor

The 2018-19 school year opened with many changes, including new staff members and a new traffic pattern for parents and student drivers. A more recent change has come in the form of new staff member Mathias Varga, who has joined Officer Lacorie Steppe as an additional school resource officer (SRO) at Fluvanna County High School (FCHS) thanks to a grant from the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services.

“SROs are in high demand at their assigned schools daily, as they are increasingly reactive to behavior or safety issues in the school zone,” said Capt. Von Hill of the Fluvanna County Sheriff’s Office. “The demand for SRO interactions has grown in recent years. The SROs are called upon to participate in more meetings, hearings and assessments than ever before.”

Having an additional SRO at FCHS “will minimize response times while increasing law enforcement services, educational opportunities, and general school and public safety,” said Hill. “It is my opinion that an additional SRO in the high school is the best kind of intelligent school safety improvement.”

Varga is originally from Virginia Beach, but moved around a lot since his father was in the Navy. He graduated from high school in Florida, then moved to Fluvanna before heading off to the Marine Corps. He said it was nice to be back in Fluvanna because he “wanted the country life again.”

Why did he choose law enforcement as a career? “I’ve always been a helper,” he said. Varga is a Marine Corps veteran and served as a volunteer firefighter with Louisa’s Fire and Rescue. Becoming an officer was another way for him to serve the community. He has been an officer for almost five years now and spent two years in law enforcement in Richmond before returning to Fluvanna.

Varga took the position as FCHS’ new SRO because it provided him with an opportunity to engage with the local youth. He said he likes doing different things and gaining new skills, and working as an SRO has presented him with a different challenge.
Many students have asked why FCHS has added another SRO. “We want to be proactive, [and having] another officer allows us to do that,” Varga said. He added that his experience at the school has been “surprising – I didn’t realize it was this busy.” Still, he said he is very thankful for the “working relationship with administration and how welcoming everyone has been, especially the students.”

Varga says his main goal in Fluvanna is to “create a better mentor relationship between law enforcement and students.” He wants to be an advocate for students and encourages them to meet with him when they have issues.

Varga’s office is in room 3607 at the high school. He can be contacted by email at mvarga@apps.fluco.org.

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