After attending a couple of seminars taught by Lt. Col. David Grossman, I felt motivated to institute one of the programs he talked about. The program is the S.M.A.R.T. curriculum. I asked two elementary School Resource Officers to pick one of their high needs schools and then select ten kids from the fifth grade at each school that were causing the most problems based on past trouble within the school and with the police department. I also asked them to look for kids that have some support at home and would likely follow through with the program. We held a meeting with the parents and explained what we hoped to accomplish.
The Officers met with the kids in school once a week to teach a lesson and then met with them after school to teach, mentor, model and lead the kids. The after school activities included scavenger hunts, Frisbee golf, roller skating, basketball, dodge ball, treats at Dairy Queen and many more. The reason for these activities is to help break the kids away from their mind numbing TV’s and video games. They all (including the officers’ families) had to turn off their movies, video games and TV’s for ten straight days. The two officers went above and beyond their assigned task. The teachers and school administrators saw an improvement in all the kids. Some of the kids had small improvements and others made huge gains. One mother called the Officer in tears. She was so happy with the change in her son’s attitude and behavior she could hardly contain herself. One boy, when he was in the fourth grade, had ninety seven referrals to the office for discipline problems and was arrested four times that year. When he was in the program in fifth grade, he only had four referrals to the office and no arrests. One of the school officers moved to the middle school and the students who had been in the program continued with their good behavior throughout the year.