I was excited to be able to attend my daughter’s High School Orientation.
But, I was not so excited when a fully dressed police officer was in attendance as well.
Okay, I will be honest, it unnerved me. There were plenty of parents and teachers in attendance and I wondered if it was truly necessary to have the police there during such an innocent, brief function.
Almost at the end of the presentation, the principal introduced the police officer (chief actually) and said he would be explaining how the local police department and school would be working together to ensure our children’s safety and enforce school policies.
I was still uneasy, until I listened to him speak. He talked to the crowd about the school rules, the consequences and discussed numerous ways that having a partnership with law enforcement was a benefit to us (and the school). His talk was brief, he could only say so much in such a short time. But I was so comforted, and appreciative, that when I left there, I gave him a call and requested an interview.
I had a feeling there were more ways he and fellow officers were there to help us. I also felt that he really cared about the success of students and I was honored when he took the time to speak with me.
I remember when I was a teenager. I wanted to cut school I did. I remember my friends and I; we just waved to the security person (an old happy guy) on our way off campus. No real penalties, no issues with the law, and most times, my parents had no clue.
With cops at school, parents and kids don’t know just how lucky they are.
At first I was annoyed that my child’s school had cops parked out front and an officer roaming the halls. I felt a little ashamed and wondered: “DO WE NEED THIS BECAUSE WE ARE SO BAD (or) ARE WE ARE JUST WAITING FOR SOMETHING BAD TO HAPPEN?”…
I realized neither of these is the case…
Chief Reik was clear during our interview, that while no school is perfect and some schools have more trouble than others, having a cop at school is not an admission to guilt. It’s about offering help. It’s about getting involved. Our kids deserve an education, our teachers deserve support, and that’s exactly why our schools and police have partnered. It’s about what’s best for kids and to think ahead, work together, and intervene so kids don’t mess up their education is a great thing.
The contracted officers don’t even throw the book at the kids, instead they talk to them and work on finding punishments that fit the crime and get kids back on the right track.
So, the next time you see an officer and his black and white lawn ornament at your school, don’t be stressed, don’t get scared, and don’t think your school is doomed, think about how some of those officers are mom’s and dads, just like us, with kids of their own (or with nieces/nephews) looking to help kids make the right choices, stay on the right path, and get the most out of their education.
Thank you Chief Larry Reik, The Eastlake Police Department and the surrounding departments for being concerned for our youth…their future…and having the heart to get involved.
How Police & Facebook can help your kids and your community.