SRO’s Make a Difference One Student at a Time

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SRO’s Make a Difference One Student at a Time

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Pellicane

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Pellicane

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Pellicane

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Pellicane

Thomas Gerald, FCHS Journalist

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School resource officers are members of law enforcement that teach, protect, and counsel the school community. Two of the newest FCHS officers, Deputies Curtis Bandon and Kevin Taylor, have been at the school since January. Here is a little information to familiarize you with these officers and how they support sudents at FCHS.

Curtis Brandon

Originally starting off as a sergeant, Officer Brandon came to Fluvanna schools looking for a job that made his days more flexible. “I like the schedule here. The pay is different, but I have better days off,” he said. He has to cover the entire school although he has another resource officer, Officer Taylor, to aid him. He says his experience at the school has been good so far.

“The hardest part of this job so far is dealing with the different attitudes,” said Officer Brandon. That can be a challenge, especially since no two people are the same. He said he hasn’t had any crazy experiences yet,“ Kids just mainly want to fight over the small things. ”These small things need to be resolved, nevertheless, so breaking up fights, preventing drama, and protecting students are the most important functions a resource officer has.

Officer Bandon feels that resource officers are very important to have in a school. “I feel like there is always going to be crime, but if we can educate students, it can reduce the possibility and teach consequences,” he said. Students of all ages in school require a safe learning environment, and school resource officers can provide that.

Kevin Taylor

Starting off in the Virginia Department of Corrections, Officer Taylor then worked for the Charlottesville/Albemarle Jail, finally coming to Fluvanna on in January to be a school resource officer. “I’ve always wanted to work with young people. I wanted to give back and help them with things I’ve gone through in life. When I went to the sheriff’s office, I already knew this was what I wanted,” he said.

Taylor feels that protecting students, teaching life lessons, and building bonds are important. “We’re trying to bridge that gap between law enforcement and students. We’re here to help and teach kids and mentor them through hard times,” he said. Helping and protecting students is one of the main reasons Taylor became an officer. “The biggest thing I want is the kids to know is that the SRO’s advocate for them. I want to be a voice for them and show them they can do anything, as well as protect them,” he said.

Officers Taylor and Brandon are fairly new here, but with two SROs now it can make the work easier. “We both cover the entire school, but there are times when we split up,” said Taylor.  

Being an SRO isn’t an easy job, but if you can protect students and educate them with life lessons at the same time, then every day of a job like theirs is worth it. The officers recently started an SRO mentor program. According to Officer Taylor, the group was the idea of Principal Margo Bruce, who suggested 10 students for the program. The group meets both individually and as a group. Students meet individually with either Officer Taylor or Officer Brandon once a week. “We meet to make sure they are focused, to discuss anything going on with them, to discuss their goals, and to help build relationships with them,” said Officer Taylor. He noted that they also meet as a group once a week to learn team-building, group skills, and goals.

“If they meet those goals, we will try to take them to places like bowling or to Kings Dominion,” said Officer Brandon. On March 27, the group went on its first field trip, which was to attend a PVCC College/Career Fair.

Although students are generally recommeded by Administration to join the program, students who have an interest in joining should talk to their Administrator, after which they will be brought in for an initial interview to see if the program is a good fit for them.