Relay for Life
Alumni Interviews--Where Are They Now?
Positive Effects of Police in School
May 16, 2011By Samantha Parsons of Centralia High School Activities
As a teenager there are two things that we have to respect: cops and high school. In our world today, a person doesn't have to go far to find either one. Matter of fact, here in Centralia it seems like they are in the same building. Chief Larry Dudgeon became chief in 2006. At Centralia High School, Chief's face is known very well. But is that such a good thing? Yes, the interaction of police officers and high school students is positive in many ways.
Placing School Resource Officers (SROs) in the school setting is one way to help students and police officers interact. SROs are more than positive in the school setting. Many SROs are law enforcement officers from local or county law enforcement agencies who are assigned to schools in cooperative agreements with education officials. According to Ellen R. Delisio in her article entitled "School Resource Officers Seeing Results" that was published in Education World Magazine, "such officers [SROs] not only help students feel safe but also give them someone in whom to confide." The article also presents the following statistics. Between one and 25 violent acts have been interrupted by more than 90% of the officers in an average school year. Twenty-four perfect of the SROs took away a loaded firearm from a student or another person on campus. Additionally, 87% of these officers reported taking knives or other blades away from people. SROs have also prevented faculty and staff members from being hurt.
As young adults, we want nothing more than to just fit in. Everyone wants to be the cool and funny guy/girl. We strive so much to be that guy/girl we ignore the verbal and sometimes harmful abuse we take. Law enforcement officers can play a key role in detecting teen violence. "Those who are deployed as resource officers in schools or in the community need to be keenly aware of the vertical transmission of domestic violence to teens," says Karen L. Bune, who is employed as a victim Specialist of the States Attorney of Maryland. Police officers are not there just to stop a fight, but are there to prevent it from happening. They can educate young people in both the schools and the community about the warning signs.
From the football field to the classroom, local police officers affect the lives of students in a positive way. Local CHS football players can see the effects of having our local police chief on the football field with them. Chief Dudgeon has been doing that for several years now. "It's a community role model taking part in something I love to do. Not only as a spectator but as a motivator," said Centralia senior Holden Meyers. " I think it has helped to foster an open line of communication between school and the police department. The kids are involved in a positive format so they know he is more than just a hammer," says Centralia head football coach Erle Bennett. At the same time, does Chief benefit from being at school? "No doubt, it's Chief's open line to the school. It's helped with the so called "pain in the butt kids" cause they can see he isn't out to get them, just to be there for them," says Bennett.
So we come back to the main question: Is the interaction between police officers and high school students a good thing? There are too many ways to explain why it's a good thing to always have a cop around. They not only help protect the school and keep it a safe learning environment, but they also teach the kids that they are not "the big bad wolf." They are here for us to help guide us through some of the hardest times of our lives. Cops are more than a good thing in school. I don't know what we would do without them.