School resource officers are often the calm in the middle of daily educational chaos. During a worldwide pandemic, these officers’ jobs have changed dramatically, but they can still bring some sense of normalcy to their students and school staff while fighting crime and COVID-19.
For students attending classes virtually, resource officers can connect via internet with messages to students to stay safe by taking the same measures — and letting them know that they are missed. Some resource officers have gone above and beyond, recording videos on social media of themselves reading books, singing, dancing and doing magic tricks for the youngsters. Others make appearances during teachers’ online lessons, just to stay in touch with their students.
For many students, school resource officers serve as mentors and counselors. Officers can be a sounding boards for kids who are being bullied, enduring a breakup with a girlfriend or boyfriend, having trouble at home or struggling to stay in school. By being available and attentive, officers can gauge whether the students’ problems are passing or escalating and when they need to get involved.
Officers are also vital for providing security for really dangerous situations, such as drivers not paying attention in school pickup and drop-off lines, unauthorized people on campus and potential school shootings.
School resource officers, teachers and staff also have stepped up in pandemic-produced situations, such as helping to hand out meals throughout the summer and into the fall semester for families who have been hit hard by the loss of free and reduced lunches that schools provide and the economic impact and loss of income.
Many officers were also on hand, helping to pass out computers and devices to students for virtual learning in drive-through pickup lines and, in some instances, even delivering the computers to their students’ homes. The contact from handing out food and devices gives officers a chance to connect with their students, who they might not have seen for months due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
As always, school resource officers have the opportunity to be a calming influence on campus, even during a state of emergency or pandemic, answering questions about safety and protocol, building relationships and reassuring students and staff that everything is going to be alright. Source: NC Sheriffs’ Association & Exclusive Multibriefs