ST CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. – St. Charles County schools will have more police protection when thousands of students return to class next week. Kids will notice a new face when they walked through the doors – a school resource officer. It’s something both parents and school officials are excited about.

The county is adding millions of dollars to protect students.

“We are adding 14 additional county police officers in the unincorporated area of St. Charles County, so we will now cover five school districts’ 17,000 students,” said Officer Shawn Birdsong, St. Charles County Police Department.

Birdsong will be making his rounds at Bryan Middle School, fully equipped with everything needed to protect students, teachers, and staff.

Every officer in St. Charles County, including the resource officers, will receive intense training.

“It’s very important. There’s been a spike in violence across America,” Birdsong said. “ This (program) puts an officer in every unincorporated school in St. Charles County. Our officers receive extensive training to mitigate any threat that would potentially bring itself to school.”

This comes after the St. Charles County Council approved more than $2 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan to place an officer at every school, including elementary schools, as well as hire 14 new SRO officers.

School officials say it’s a big step to protect students in wake of shootings across the nation.

“The timing is good. This is going to help give parents a peace of mind, students a peace of mind, staff a peace of mind, just to have a full-time SRO,” said Jeff Gruener, principal at Bryan Middle School. “We take school safety and learning our top priorities.”

Thousands of students in the Francis Howell School District will return to the classroom on Monday.