SROs Building Bridges in the Classroom with Rocket Rules

By Bunni Benaron and Barry Stockhamer, Rocket Rules

How can school resource officers do more to connect with young students in elementary schools and continue to make a positive impact? Enter Rocket Rules.

Every day, SROs across the country meet the challenges of providing safety for schools and students. Along with this safety mandate, there is an increasing need for SROs to redouble their efforts on building positive relationships with students, parents and the community.

Recognizing the dual challenges of keeping kids safe and enhancing student relationships, Rocket Rules has collaborated with NASRO and has built a fun and engaging safety and mental health program for elementary school students that are pre-kindergarten to second grade.

Messages from SROs in the classroom demonstrate that you care and are a person children can trust. The benefits of early elementary school training, building a child’s foundational awareness, can save lives and prevent serious injury. Early foundational discussions about staying in touch with a child’s feelings and how to deal with frustrating situations, self-regulation, learning to ask for help, are lifelong skillsets for being healthy and successful individuals.

SROs are well positioned to help children. You are on the front line for safety and an important part of a child’s support system.

As community leaders, SROs represent a positive role model for the children.

When SROs enter their classroom, the children make the connection that you are genuine and you care, and in doing so, SROs make a big difference.

Early Safety Tools

Rocket’s programs are unique in addressing the needs of our youngest children (PreK to second grade). It is critical and essential to begin these safety skills early. This early introduction starts to build a foundation throughout elementary schools and on through middle and high school. Safe practices and skills are embedded in the daily thinking of all students.

Last year, Rocket introduced the Sense of Safety & Beyond! Program that teaches children how to use their six senses to keep them safe to and from school, at home and while in the community. This program is perfect for young students.

Rocket’s toolkit makes it easy, memorable and impactful. There are 16 engaging and important lessons, SRO activities, workbook, Rocket videos as well as giving students Certificates of Completion. This makes for a fun and memorable SRO visit. The lessons of the program are sustained through future SRO visits or by the classroom teacher.

All elements of the program are fun and age-appropriate. Engaging their six senses creates a greater awareness of the things and events unfolding around them and allows them to make quick, smart decisions to avoid serious injuries.

Easy to Administrate

The SRO enters the class with a complete toolkit that consists of an officer script, activity, animated videos and student certificates. This preparation allows you to deliver an engaging activity in 15-20 minutes.

Subjects include:

  • How to use your six senses; activating them into action
  • How to cross the street safely
  • Finding exits
  • Dial 9-1-1
  • Recognizing landmarks around town
  • Calling for help; how to recognize trusted adults
  • Staying away from dangerous things
  • Walking with a buddy
  • No Bully Zone…and much more

Rocket’s Newest Program

Following last year’s very successful launch of the Sense of Safety & Beyond! program, Rocket Rules has released its newest program for this age group: a social emotional health program emphasizing a strong mind and strong body.

The COVID pandemic created a mental health crisis for children who faced trauma of lost family members, a lack of social interaction with peers, and the at-home pressures of loss of family income. These are everyday challenges for some students.

Rocket’s new program addresses the critical need in elementary schools to deal with everyday social and emotional issues. It builds lifelong skills needed to be successful. The program is designed for SROs to enter classrooms and deliver an engaging, child-friendly activity to build essential skills and build bridges of trust with the SRO.

“Rocket’s program “Strong Mind, Strong Body” is so important. The need has never been greater, and Rocket’s programs can really make a difference in everyday school safety and improve a child’s mental health,” said NASRO President Rudy Perez of the Los Angeles School Police Department. “It builds great bridges between SROs and children.”

Family and school counselors all agree there is a critical need for dealing with social and emotional issues to keep young children mentally healthy and strong.

This article was originally published in The Journal of School Safety.

Safe Communities Institute

The Safe Communities Institute (SCI) at the USC Price School of Public Policy continues a more than 60-year tradition of research, interdisciplinary education, and collaboration to advance sustainable “whole-of-community” public safety strategies, policies, and programs. SCI takes a holistic approach to encouraging and informing public safety efforts through collaboration between all public safety disciplines and the communities they serve.

Officer Spotlight - Sergeant Arlen Castillo is an 18-year veteran of the El Monte Police Department. Currently assigned to the patrol division, she is also a member of the Public Information Officer team and is dedicated to building connections between the community and law enforcement. Read more.

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