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Boquet: ‘Be our guest, Officer-student lunch builds community bonds

Be our guest.

That’s the message the St. John the Baptist Parish Public School District wants to get out to our local law enforcement community.

This school year the district is piloting a program at East St. John High School that invites members of the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office to have lunch with students.

The meals are provided free of charge to on-duty deputies through local safe schools funding during the lunchtime hours of 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

The goal is to build trust and relationships among students and deputies by bringing them together in a casual atmosphere so that students feel more comfortable speaking to deputies about any issues they may have or be aware of, both on campus and off. It’s also an opportunity to make sure students are exposed not just to negative experiences with law enforcement but positive as well.

The program started just over two weeks ago and East St. John High School Principal Christopher Mayes says the officers who have taken advantage of the program have engaged well with the student body.

He said while school resource officers and parish deputies are active with policing the community he hopes that by including them as part of the East St. John High School family that local law enforcement, and all parish agencies, will see the value in investing their resources to guide students in all facets of their lives.

“By functioning as a part of our school community, officers can be more proactive with preventing harm and danger to our students and the community as a whole,” he said.

We look forward to welcoming more deputies as our lunch guests as we continue this program throughout the rest of the school year.

Jennifer Boquet is communications specialist for St. John the Baptist Parish Public Schools. She can be reached at jboquet@stjohn.k12.la.us.