School is out for the summer, but that doesn’t mean student resource officers in Sumner County aren’t still working to keep their students safe.
For two weeks, SROs take off their uniforms to teach their students how to become champions in life and stay safe. It’s called Champ Camp.
On a regular school day, the presence of a dozen police cars outside Rucker Stewart Middle School would be alarming. But during the summer months, the cars a sign of Champ Camp.
“Our captain challenged us as a division to break out of normal school element and come up with something we can do with the kids in the summer,” explained SRO Chris Vines. “That’s when we developed Champ Camp.”
Champ Camp is fun and games, mixed with a serious side of adolescence.
“The internet is very important to our kids, so we feel as police officers, we see how kids get into trouble sometimes on the internet because they don’t have safe practices,” said Vines.
So, there’s a class for that. In the class, students learn the dangers of putting personal information on the internet, as well as the consequences of cyberbullying.
“I have a saying that, ‘Beware of the feet you step on today because it might be connected to the tale you have to kiss tomorrow,’ because the person you are making fun of could be your boss one day,” explained instructor and SRO Renee Workings.
And the kids are soaking up the warnings and advice.
“I learned to be more cautious online,” camper Jamie said.
Camper River Williams added, “Don’t post, ‘Hey guys, I live at blah, blah, blah, and at blah, blah. Want to come see me and just say hi?’ Now, that would be stupid.”
Workings also warns the students on the kind of pictures they exchange with others.
“I’ve had just recently a young lady who sent her boyfriend some pictures while she was in middle school and she’s now a junior and those pictures are resurfacing, and she’s having issues with it,” she said.
“I’m not going to be stupid enough to go sexting,” camper Victoria told News 2.
Champ Camp also offers a child identification program as another way to protect kids.
“It takes personal information – medical information, if there is any contact information – we take fingerprints pictures and do a video to get voice match capabilities. We burn it all to a disk and send it to the parents of the child and hope they never need it,” said SRO Darren Roseberry.
The SROs say the packets could be useful if their child goes missing.