Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino, Undersheriff Daniel Izzo, sheriff’s deputy Jordan Curtis and deputy Robert Furman each sat down and ate lunch with students as part of the Broadalbin-Perth Central School District’s new Blue Plate Special program.
“All too often we’re in schools for the wrong reason and this gives us the opportunity to be in the schools for the right reasons,” Giardino said.
The program allows uniformed law enforcement officers in the region — Whether it be the sheriff’s, state police, or village police — to eat breakfast or lunch for free with students at any of the four schools.
This initiative is a creative way for BPCSD to help bolster school safety through increased police presence on its campuses and encourages students and law enforcement officers to build positive relationships. The program also helps students to not be afraid of law enforcement and see them as their allies.
“Safety and security in our schools is really important, and we’re fortunate to have some of the best law enforcement officers,” said BPCSD Superintendent Stephen Tomlinson. “We felt it was important to find a creative way to make connections between [law enforcement] and our students that come into our buildings.”
Law enforcement agencies were all given business cards that show the breakfast and lunch times of each school. Officers can also visit the website bit.ly/blue-plate-special to see breakfast and lunch menus. Also on the cards is a four-digit code to use for the free lunch.
The program is sponsored by the Broadalbin-Perth Middle School Positive Behavior Intervention System program who are helping to offset the cost of the Blue Plate Special program.
PBIS is a program used to help encourage positive behavior in students.
“If we teach children to recognize their positive behaviors and downplay their negative behaviors, we’re more apt to change some of their behaviors in a positive direction,” Tomlinson said.
The Blue Plate Special is part of the school district’s school safety and security initiative. The district continues to discuss and seek ways to keep the buildings safe for the students.
“We know the way to combat unfortunate activity or anyone wanting to come in and do harm to our children is to teach members of our community and our region that any moment or time an officer could be in our buildings,” Tomlinson said.
Not only does it help with safety and security in the schools, but it also gives the students the opportunity to make positive connections with law enforcement.
It gives police the chance to meet students in a non-confrontational way and not in a bad environment.
“We look forward to utilizing the Blue Plate Special and to have a positive interaction with the students,” Giardino said.
“We hope to see officers on a regular basis. I’m hoping weekly,” Tomlinson said. “Daily, I understand that’s probably not realistic.”