School resource officers focused on building positive culture at middle schools

Lincoln Police Officer Kathryn Meade had her first day of school on Thursday. She even had her husband take the customary first-day-of-school photo in front of their house.

“He thought I was crazy,” she said.

Meade is one of six new school resource officers who had their first day with Lincoln Public Schools on Thursday. Each of them will split his or her time between two of the 12 LPS middle schools. For Meade, that’s Scott and Park middle schools.

Meade’s first day was at Scott - and it was a great first day. It didn’t hurt that she brought a bag full of Tootsie Rolls that she handed out to students during passing time - the perfect ice-breaker. At one point, she had a sore hand because of all the high-fives.

“And I’ve already had students teach me four new dance moves,” she said.

The Tootsie Rolls, high-fives and smiles doled out by Meade symbolize the goal of school resource officers in middle schools. Their focus is not just security, but to strengthen connections between schools, students, families and communities. Their focus is relationship-building, serving as a mentor for students and becoming a true part of the fabric of each building.

The middle school resource officers are the result of an expanded partnership between LPS and the city of Lincoln. It’s a partnership that also includes additional mental health services for students and resources for Lincoln’s Community Learning Centers.

“All of these things are vital for our schools to build a positive climate and culture and a consistent, calm environment that’s conducive to learning,” said LPS Director of Student Services Russ Uhing.

Meade is focused on building that kind of positive culture at Scott and Park. A former high school teacher, she even hopes to “sneak into classrooms” every once in awhile and help students with their homework.

“It’s all about letting your guard down and showing them that you’re human,” she said.

And Tootsie-Rolls don’t hurt, either.

For more information about school resource officers, including their extensive training, click here.

To offer feedback on the proposed evaluation process for the school resource officer program, click here.

Published: November 16, 2018, Updated: November 26, 2018

"It’s all about letting your guard down and showing them that you’re human."

School Resource Officer Kathryn Meade