By Tomm Stewart
The highest priority of our education system is the safety, security and success of all students. Our children need to learn without fear and parents must have the assurance that school safety programs will do everything possible so that each child will return home safely each day. It is a privilege and, I feel, an obligation to express strong support and deep appreciation for the recently formed Snohomish County Sheriff’s School Services Unit. This unit has, from its inception several months ago, already provided exceptionally high quality and reliable support and service to our schools, staff, students and greater community.
Sheriff John Lovick, with significant input from school leadership throughout the county, instituted the School Services Unit with highly qualified deputies under the direction of Sgt. Scott Parker to patrol their assigned schools throughout the county, maintain regular campus visits, respond to any emergent situation, and perform many functions typically associated with School Resource Officers, such as presentations to school stake holder groups, staff meetings, assemblies, Site Safety Teams, etc.. This commitment to student safety enhances the work already being done by School Resource Officers and has rapidly become an essential component of many school safety programs.
The School Services Deputies are pleasant, capable, bright and resourceful officers who interact incredibly well with young people. They have the skills and personality to deal with kids in a friendly, effective, and professional manner and work exceptionally well with parents, staff, and the public. They treat our youngsters with dignity and respect, conduct themselves with the highest level of professionalism, and establish the kind of rapport and relationships to which children and teens respond positively. The deputies are superior role models for young people and have the nature and skills to be incredibly effective working in the education environment. They have the “know how” to teach and reach students, staff, and parents whether one on one, in small groups, in classrooms, or in larger meetings and presentations. Above all, they are clearly committed to enhancing school safety and to the maintenance of secure school communities and healthy learning environments. I endorse the School Services Unit in the highest possible manner.
Tomm Stewart is Vice Principal of Centennial Middle School in Snohomish School District 201.