BCPD welcomed students to a new year at the Campus School. (Photos by Frank Curran)
Members of the Boston College Police Department enthusiastically greeted students from the Campus School at Boston College upon their arrival for a new school year delivering a "High Five Friday" start for the 42 enrollees.
Ten uniformed officers voluntarily participated in the first-ever event that included a squad car-lined street with warning lights lit, personal welcomes for each student, sticker badges, photos of students sitting on a police motorcycle, and classroom readings with safety-themed youth books featuring law enforcement officers.
The publicly funded Campus School currently enrolls special education students, ages 3-21, from 32 Massachusetts communities. Campus School students face complex physical and developmental challenges that may affect communication, vision, cognition, sensory processing, movement, or fine motor skills. The school develops age-appropriate thematic units that align with the Massachusetts General Education Curriculum Frameworks.
"As a community service-oriented department, BCPD is dedicated to giving back," said Patrol Sergeant Robert Wayne, who coordinated the event on behalf of the BCPD. "‘High Five Friday' was the just our latest event in collaboration with the Campus School, and we learned that the students would respond positively to the presence of uniformed officers and the police warning lights. To see the reaction on the students' faces as we helped them into school was very memorable, and reminded us how amazing these students are."
"The BC Police are very important to our school and students," said Campus School Marketing/Admissions and Outreach Coordinator Kristen Morin, who noted that the welcome event was also timed to honor 9/11 first responders. "It's critically important that they understand our students' needs, and that they and our students are comfortable with each other. We so appreciate BCPD's willingness and enthusiasm to engage with us as members of the BC community."
Each student received a personal escort into the building, complete with applause and cheers through a tunnel of blue-clad officers. According to Morin, the mother of an 18-year-old Campus School student emailed the school to express her gratitude to the BCPD: "Imagine...they clapped for my boy while he walked into school," she wrote. "What a 'special' event. Thank you so much!" Another parent reported that her 7-year-old was so excited after sitting on a police motorcycle that he could barely sleep Friday night following the event.
The Campus School students presented handmade thank you cards to attending officers as well as their colleagues, expressing gratitude for their friendship and keeping them safe.
More than 500 BC students volunteer or work at the Campus School annually, either through The Campus School Volunteers of Boston College, the PULSE Program, 4Boston, the First Year Service Program, or as student employees, as well as through practicums and research, according to Morin.
"Recently, over 100 BC students applied for just four classroom 'buddy' positions at the school," she said. "Each Campus School student has a meaningful relationship with a minimum of seven BC students in the form of buddies."
—Phil Gloudemans | University Communications | October 2018