Feeling a sense of security is crucial to childhood development and educational success. This includes having trustworthy adults one can turn to when feeling unsafe or apprehensive. Parents and teachers are a perfect example. At RSU 14, adding a School Resource Officer to the mix to introduce police officers as friendly adults who are here to help, not to punish or threaten, has added to that sense of security.
That is one of the many factors considered by adding School Resource Officer (SRO) Windham Police Officer Robert Hamilton, as a new presence at the Windham Primary School (WPS) and Raymond Elementary School (RES), building positive interactions with students.
“I am here to help ensure the safety of the kids and staff to create a safe and positive learning environment while building a connection and positive relationships with students,” said Hamilton. “We want students to feel comfortable with who we are and what we provide for the community. We want them to know we are people who can be trusted.”
WPS Principal Dr. Kyle Rhoads says that Hamilton has been a visible and welcoming role at the primary school, offering a sense of safety.
“Officer Hamilton will continue to assure our community that WPS is a safe place for learning and that we continue to attempt to improve the safety of our school,” Rhoades said. “When children feel safe, they can do their best learning.”
RES Principal Beth Peavey said that Hamilton’s presence will offer a positive, inclusive school community and a necessary resource.
“It is the hope that the SRO will serve as a mentor and provide educational programs to educate students on safety, bullying prevention, and the importance of making positive choices,” she said.
Manchester School has always shared an SRO with Windham Middle School, but Officer Hamilton will be making his appearances with the fourth- and fifth-grade students there as well and Manchester Principal Danielle Donnini also welcomes him into the fold.
“Some of us remember Officer Hamilton as a student and we are so happy to welcome him back into our school community,” she said. “Having a depth of understanding of our local communities will be a real asset for the students, the school community, and our families.”
Indeed, Hamilton has always been an invested member of the school district. Having lived in Windham all his life and having graduated from Windham High School in 2012, he has worked for the Windham Police Department for the past five years. He says there was something about serving on the police force that drew him to the occupation.
“I was always drawn to the idea of protecting and serving,” Hamilton said. “I am also a big people person so getting to interact and communicate with the public daily while also doing my part to keep them safe was a big influence in me wanting to become a police officer.”
Hamilton said that he is looking forward to the opportunity to interact with the younger students.
“I love that I get to be a part of helping the kids grow and develop as people and not just students,” he said. “I love that I get to see all the hard work kids put into the school year pay off at the end of the year as kids move on to the next grade. I love that I get to hang out and just have fun with the kids.”
Hamilton says that his hope for the students is that he can work to build positive relationships through teaching and mentorship with them. He also said that he hopes the students and faculty to help him learn and grow within his new position.
Peavey spoke for the entire school district in welcoming Hamilton to his new role.
“His presence is a valuable addition to our school community,” she said. “We look forward to working with him to ensure safety within the school community as well as to build positive relationships with our students, families, and staff.”
When Officer Hamilton is not at work protecting and serving RSU 14 and the Windham community, he can be found playing golf, softball, fishing, and spending time with his family. He lives with his wife and two dogs in Windham.
This story was provided by Lorraine Glowczak, Director of Community Connections & Storytelling Ambassador for RSU 14. To submit a story or an idea, email Rachel Paling at firstname.lastname@example.org.