- Pine Valley Central School
Deputy Brandon Hite
The following interview with Deputy Hite was edited for length and clarity.
What are some things you're looking forward to as the school year goes on?
Building the relationships. I'm here, obviously first and foremost, to protect the kids, but I'm also here to build relationships with the kids. I'm hoping that I could be somebody they look up to, look forward to seeing and talking to, and just having fun while I'm here.
Are there any other reasons why you thought you'd be a good fit for working in a school district?
I coached Maple Grove football for a couple years and did really well with the kids there. They got along with me really well. I built really great relationships there, so I felt like I kind of had a knack for working with kids around this age group. I've always been good with the younger kids. It was a good change of pace, something I thought I'd enjoy doing, and it's been great so far.
You've only been here for a few days, but do you have any stories of a student coming up to you and wanting help or to talk to you about something?
Actually, my second day. I was getting ready to leave the elementary school. I had all my things to hop in my car and go home and got flagged down by a bunch of younger students in the elementary school. They're like, "We need your help, we need your help." So, I went over by the playground area, and they pointed at this little girl who was sitting down on the ground. They were like, "She's sad, and she's crying."
So I went over and sat down on the floor with the girl and said, "What's going on? What's wrong?" "I'm sad." "Why are you sad?" And she's like, "None of the kids want to play with me."
"Alright, let's go out on the playground. I'll go play with you." I went out there with her, and she was going down all the slides and having the time of her life.
Two minutes in, when all the kids realized he's here to play with us, I just got swarmed. They're all wanting to play, showing me all of the drawings with chalk they were doing on the sidewalk, wanting me to pick them up and put them on these dragon things. It was fun. So good.
What are some of the positives of having a school resource officer on site?
I think it's good, because it humanizes us. I know the authority figure is kind of intimidating. I'm mainly here to protect the kids and build the relationships. I'm not getting involved in any of the disciplinary things.
I don't want people to think that we're robots. I like to have fun. I like to play games. I like to listen to music. I like doing all the things that all these kids like to do. It's good so the kids can understand we're normal people too. There's nothing different about us. We have a job to do, and other than that, we're just normal people just like they are.
I hope the kids understand that, like I said earlier, I'm not here to punish them. I'm not here to get them in trouble. I'm here to help if they feel like they don't have anybody to talk to, that I'm always around, and I'll always listen to them whenever they want to talk. I'm here for each and every one of them.
Think ahead to when a student that you're working with is graduating. What would you want them to reflect on when they think about the time that you've spent with them?
I'd hope they'd have some good memories; maybe playing some sports, hanging out in classes. Also, somebody they felt comfortable coming to when they had issues, somebody they could talk to, somebody they can trust. That's what I'm looking for.