WINOOSKI, Vt. (WCAX) Having no in-person school requires more than adapting to a new way of learning. Students' social structure is completely disrupted by not being able to see friends, teachers and even school resource officers. Our Elissa Borden introduces you to one resource officer who is going above and beyond to check in on his students.
It's not always speeding tickets and crime scenes Winooski Police Ofc. Jason Ziter.
"I love it, it's probably the best job, the most rewarding job I've ever had," Ziter said.
With school out due to coronavirus and soon for summer vacation, resource officers are thinking outside the box to stay prevalent in students' lives. Ziter is no different.
"When I'm working a shift, when they're giving the meals out to students and families, I can come to the drop-off sites and engage with the students," he said.
Ziter works within the Winooski School District. He provides security, mentoring and education to K-12 kids in the city.
Asked what some of the things are that Mr. Jason teaches him, Winooski kindergartener Calvin Noni answered, "That you have to wear a helmet on your bike."
Ofc. Ziter's help doesn't stop at bike safety. He teaches fifth-grade D.A.R.E. classes and keeps that message up by posting videos online every week. He's also been recording his hikes for the high school's earth sciences program.
"This spring we were actually supposed to go on a three-day, two-night hike on the Long Trail so with that students we had to adapt that," he said.
Education lessons aside, Ziter is working hard in this pandemic to keep up the bond with his students.
"I wear the same uniform that our patrol officers do in school. So, if they do see a patrol officer out on the street, it's the same as what they've seen me," Ziter said. "Whether it's a first-grader and me going into class and reading them a book, and even with the regular elementary middle- or high-schoolers, I interact with them. I eat lunch with them in the cafeteria. I think it lessens that fear."
And it reminds them that he's here to help.