Class is back in session for tens of thousands of kids in the Rockford school district. School resource officers spent the day getting to know the students they’ll be protecting.
Officers began the day by high-fiving students as they walked into schools on the first day of the 2018-2019 school year, a gesture meant to start the year off on a positive note.
“We want to reach out. This is a good way to make contact with each and every kid in the district,” said Officer Timothy Speltz, the Supervisor for Rockford Public Schools (RPS) resource officers. “Just to show them we are friendly and we are there for them, and their schools are safe, and we’re there to help keep them safe.”
While students were preparing for to go back to school, the officers were hard at work getting to know their schools.
“We get together before the school year starts and we make our assignments to each of the schools,” Ofc. Speltz continued. “We have officers in each high school and each middle school, and they are also assigned to the elementary schools, to reach out to the principals, to the administrators, [to find out] what their needs are at the start of the school year, and go from there.”
Speltz says being a part of the schools is important to keeping students safe.
“It’s not just the police officers,” he continued. “It’s the administrators of the schools, it’s the security staff, the teachers. As a group, we’re all looking out for the students. It’s not just the police that keep them safe. Everybody works together as a team to keep them safe.”
During a time when students are constantly hearing about school shootings across the nation, Speltz says it’s important to make sure those concerns don’t get in the way of learning.
“We try to reassure them that their schools are safe in Rockford,” he said. “We hope it never comes to that point, with a tragedy of that magnitude, but we want the kids to know police, the security in the schools, the administrators that are to keep them safe, so they can get a quality education.”
Rockford Police also want to remind drivers to slow down and be patient when around school zones when kids are getting on and off buses.