Thank you for caring

Published 7:47 pm Saturday, November 15, 2014

Early in its first year as a partner in education with Elephant’s Fork Elementary School, the Suffolk Sheriff’s Office is already making a difference for some of the students at the school.

Sheriff’s department representatives were at the school on Friday administering the EZ Child Identification Program, through which they collected fingerprints, addresses and other information for students, whose parents were then given the information in hopes that it could be used to help find the children if they ever go missing.

All the information was given to parents, along with instructions on how to take DNA samples from their children. The sheriff’s department kept none of the information, but it left the school having built bridges between it and the parents and children it serves as an educational partner.

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That program, in itself, is a big deal, especially for a school with as many struggling students as Elephant’s Fork. Every opportunity those students have to interact with positive role models and mentors represents a chance to help improve their ultimate academic results.

Sheriff’s department staffers have taken the responsibility seriously. In addition to Friday’s identification event, they do bus stop duty, they come to the school to read to students, and they spend time as “lunchroom buddies” for the students. Staff members hope, with the School Board’s approval, to begin riding the bus with students, as well.

The Partners in Education program is a great opportunity for adults to play a positive, enriching role in the lives of young people. It’s a popular program at the middle and high school level, but partnerships at the elementary level are somewhat more rare.

Congratulations to Elephant’s Fork Elementary School for finding such a faithful partner in education. And to the members of the sheriff’s department who make that partnership possible: Thank you for caring.