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Medina’s new school resource officer connecting with students, staff

Posted 25 September 2019 at 11:38 am

Provided photo: Medina police officer Stephen Gross talks with social studies students. Gross is the new school resource officer for the district this year.

Press Release, Medina Central School

MEDINA – There is a new school resource officer in the Medina Central School District and he is already making an impact on the students. Police Officer Stephen Gross has been busy acquainting himself with staff and students.

“I am really excited about being here,” Gross said. “I love getting out and being in the community and working with the kids has been very rewarding and I am enjoying getting to know them all. As far as the school district is concerned, safety is their priority and I felt ready to step into that role and I am excited about that.”

Joe Byrne, a social studies teacher, asked Officer Gross to come to Byrne’s 8th grade classes and talk to the students.

“I wanted to give him a chance for the students to become more familiar with him and show off his impressive knowledge of school district law,” Byrne said. “Today we are talking about how we balance civil rights in our society with school safety. I think it is very important that they know their civil rights as students, but also the concerns that we, the government, have for school safety.”

The students talked about such cases as Tinker v. Des Moines that cemented students’ rights to free speech in public schools. New Jersey v. T.L.O concerns 4th Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures. In Ingraham v. Wright, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that corporal punishment in public schools did not violate constitutional rights. In Kent v. United States, it was determined that juvenile offenders are entitled to the same amount of due process of law as adults while under the jurisdiction of a juvenile court.

The class had some interesting opinions on the various cases as Officer Gross talked about them and discussed how they would relate to what happens in their school. There was also time for students to get a little more personal and ask him about his gear, role in the school and the community.

“My number one goal is to help students to be less afraid of police and to make sure that you get home safe every day,” he told them.

Byrne said he is very grateful for the time that Officer Gross spent in his class.

“He had a training in New Jersey the day before and made sure to get back here to talk to my students,” Byrne said. “I think it was a great way for them to feel more comfortable with him and incorporate some of the lessons we are learning in class.”

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