SRO Anti-Bully Camp Scores Big with Students, Parents, other Law Enforcement Agencies
The WCSO/SRO Conflict-Resolution Camp was so successful, education officials from other counties were calling Wilson County Sheriff’s Office SROs to get information to set up their own youth camps next year. This was the first ever youth camp Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan’s SRO team had ever undertaken but it won’t be the last.
Interest spiked high enough to add a second WCSO/SRO Conflict-Resolution Camp, where students were taught how to cope with bullying, peaceful conflict-resolution, dealing with peer pressure, drugs, alcohol and learning to spot online predators.
“I’m convinced this was a great success based on the reports from my SRO team, parents and students,” Sheriff Bryan said. “That says a lot when other schools want to emulate the training your SROs are offering. That’s quite a compliment, and we’re very proud of our SRO officers who participated in this program, which may provide a model for other agencies.”
SRO Lt. Scott Moore added the interest exceeded his expectations. “Response was better than I anticipated. We were a little worried if we had enough time with just a few days from the time of the camp to the start of school, getting the classes together and getting the word out that this was going to take place. This next year, we will have all year to concentrate on improving the curriculum, building upon the classes students liked and planning new classes they might enjoy.”
Interest was not a problem as the SROs found that they had to form another class in the afternoon during that week. “That’s a good problem to have,” Lt. Moore said, noting that the SROs quickly formulated a second class of 16 students for the afternoon from 1-4 p.m. following the initial morning class of 16 from 8-11 a.m. from July 25-29.
“The goal of the camp is to help our young people manage possible problems they are faced with everyday, both in and out of school,” Sheriff Robert Bryan said. “Our young people today face many more struggles and peer pressure in a more modern and dangerous world today than many of us did in school. They are confronted with so many mixed messages regarding their core values vs. bad behavior some in our culture consider acceptable.”
Lt. Moore said he asked the students to raise their hands to determine the most popular areas of instruction. He said the most popular events were a tour of the juvenile court system with Juvenile Court Judge Barry Tatum and a tour of the jail. “But we also got a lot of students telling us they enjoyed the other classes too and felt more confident going back to school this year. The parents told us how much they enjoyed it and talked about it at home. That’s what we wanted to hear.”
Eligibility requirements included any male or female with a good disciplinary school record and good attendance record who were to be in the 6th through 8th grades during the 2016-2017 school year. There was no cost to the students who ended their camp with a pizza party.
The crowning achievement was a competition for winning poster and winning essay they turned in at the end of camp. Nathan Martinez of Tuckers Crossroads School won the essay competition while Katelyn Anderson of Carroll-Oakland Schools took first place in the poster challenge.
“The word is spreading,” Lt. Moore said. “We’re getting calls from other schools in other counties who want to do what we’re doing here. I’m right now compiling information to send them.”
Note: The WCSO SRO school camp is not associated with Wilson County Schools.