High school is a difficult time for many teens. In fact, it’s not just the kids themselves who struggle with hardships, but the teachers and other staff as well. High school is just plain hard, regardless of what side of the desk you’re on. However, some days aren’t as troubling as others. Some days are filled with surprises instead.
Brentwood, California has adopted a policy that allows for Brentwood Police Department officers to hold positions in schools. Essentially, these officers provide the services of many roles, one of them being to prevent bullying. When Student Resource Officer Mitch Brouillette was called into the principal’s office to speak with a student about bullying, he was shocked. The student he was to speak to was a girl by the name of Sienna, with whom he had developed a close friendship. Sienna knew Officer Mitch was passionate about anti-bullying campaigns, so this turn of events caught him off-guard.
Officer Mitch and the Video
Officer Mitch is called into the office and enters. He sees a confused and frightened Sienna. He doesn’t know what to expect and prepares for the worst to unfold before him.
Moments later, the principal of the school informs the officer that Sienna has posted something to social media and she thinks the officer should see it. Taking a deep breath, he hits play…and gets the surprise of his life.
He didn’t see what he thought he’d see. Officer Mitch saw a message from several of his students. In the video, the kids all shared why they are thankful for him, and what they appreciate most about him and his efforts. Of course, the video touched his heart and he couldn’t help but show some emotion.
After watching the full video and wiping away the tears, the officer walked outside the office and saw a group of students waiting. The surprise wasn’t over yet! Officer Mitch went outside. A mob of students greeted him. They wanted to give him one more gift.
His favorite song is Downtown by Macklemore. The students knew this too. They performed a flashmob dance to the song after donning him in a faux fur coat and feather boa. The video went viral on YouTube instantly! The students showed their appreciation for this officer in one of the most creative ways.
The Role of Police Officers in Schools
According to PoliceFoundation.org, “Officers in school systems have diverse roles. School-based officers’ assignments in schools may vary depending on the school district, but there are common responsibilities such as mentoring, teaching, creating partnerships, building relationships, and ensuring school safety.” Whether or not a school district enforces the use of police in its schools is up to the individual district. Not every school has officers in them. However, it’s clear that the students appreciate their presence. “Many officers also become mentors to youth in schools and develop positive relationships with students and their families. Many officers notice youth who seem at risk or vulnerable, and recognize that taking on a mentoring role can be invaluable – particularly if a youth needs assistance or does not have structure or stability in his/her home life.“
While not everyone will approve of cops in schools, it’s obvious that some people do value them in that capacity. Officer Mitch Brouillette is a former US Marine and has spent 16 years as a law enforcement officer. He spent 12 years as a SWAT team member, and 3 years as a detective in the Crimes Against Children unit. We appreciate his efforts and the work he has done for kids in his area. To catch the full video and see how the students surprise Officer Mitch, watch the YouTube video below:
- “Tearjerker warning: Students shower Officer Mitch with love.” Behind The Badge. Joe Vargas.December 3, 2016.
- “NATIONAL STUDENT SAFETY & SECURITY CONFERENCE & WORKSHOP 2019.” Nordtree.
- “NATIONAL STUDENT SAFETY & SECURITY CONFERENCE AND WORKSHOP 2018.” Nordtree
- “Speakers.” Nordtree.
- “Mitch Brouillette.” Nordtree.
- “Defining the Roles of School-Based Police Officers.” Police Foundation.
- “Massive mob overwhelms school’s favorite police officer!” YouTube. Official dude. be nice. August 18, 2016.