In 2016, National Public Radio researched the origins of the African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child.” NPR was unsuccessful, largely because the spirit that the phrase embodies is vested in the ethics of so many cultures.
Southampton teachers have long embraced this ethos as we strive to educate our amazingly diverse student population. The pandemic has reinforced the interdependence of our departments in educating and caring for the whole child. From the food service workers who kept our community fed, to our bus drivers who reassuringly transport our fragile, shaken children back to the school they didn’t know they loved, we saw proof that each cog in our machine is necessary to ensure that every child arrives with the ability to learn.
To this end, one role that was perhaps previously undervalued but has emerged as essential is that of our School Resource Officers.
The Southampton community and its various schools are immensely fortunate to have Officers Tiffany Lubold and Lisa McCulley as our SROs. They have become indispensable cogs in our effort to educate.
In the elementary school, they have run D.A.R.E. programs and held cyber safety talks. At the intermediate school, the SROs sponsored Red Ribbon Week, hosted K-9 visits, made friendship bracelets, organized “Bicycle Cop” safety presentations and served as guest speakers at the Junior National Honor Society induction ceremony.
In the high school, Officers Tiffany and Lisa have introduced an opioid/prescription drug curriculum into health classes, hosted nationally renowned speaker Milton Creagh, made more friendship bracelets in the library, set up scavenger hunts for mental health awareness, played hockey with our Best Buddies, hosted a very poignant police/student forum, and planked their way to raising $810 from the PBA and Southampton Teachers Association for scholarships.
In addition to all of this good work, the efforts of these officers in response to the challenges we faced from COVID were immense. From collecting food donations when the schools first shut down to monetary donations during the holiday season, our SROs were committed to seeing that our families did not go without. They also assisted with home visits for fully remote students, and supplied every faculty and staff member with a “SMILE” button so that students knew what our faces looked like behind our masks.
As we face a national crisis that finds community-police relations fraught with strife and scrutiny, the work of Officers Lubold and McCulley is something to be admired and heralded. We appreciate all they do to nurture our children and their contributions to Southampton School’s mission to educate students in a safe, supportive environment as they themselves become responsible citizens.
Southampton Teachers Association
Mr. Brand is a social studies teacher at Southampton High School — Ed.
One fine body…