By Tim Kowols and Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski
As local schools host their homecoming activities, law enforcement is using this as an opportunity to reach out to students in a variety of different ways. While many look to police officers and sheriff deputies as strictly law enforcement, Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski believes they should be looked to as an educational tool. With years of life experiences behind them, Joski says local law enforcement personnel can help students make good choices.
Joski says he is grateful for teachers and other staff members for their role in educating area youth.
SHERIFF’S CORNER WITH KEWAUNEE COUNTY SHERIFF MATT JOSKI
With schools being back in session for another productive and educational year, it is a good time to talk safety and prevention. Just a few weeks ago I wrote an article about the basic back to school safety precautions such as school bus safety awareness and pedestrian safety awareness. This time my message is focused directly at our students and the challenges they may face in making good decisions in the midst of sometimes overwhelming peer pressure.
When we consider the population of our combined school districts when in session, they constitute communities onto themselves in regards to sheer numbers as well as the diversity and dynamics of those “School Communities”. While we as parents like to believe that our children are there for strictly academic pursuits, we know full well that there are also social lessons being learned and that many of the decisions that they make can and will have long term impacts to their lives. We are grateful for the educational staff that takes on the daunting role of planting the seeds of knowledge in an environment which all too often is hijacked by distractions ranging from situations at home to situations in social life.
Our message to our children is the same as the message that our parents attempted to send to us; make good choices. I don’t know about any other parents, but I feel that our children believe that we are naïve to the pressures they face and the challenges to making good decisions as a young person in today’s world. In some ways they are right. We did not have the constant social presence due to the advent of social media and the proliferation of electronic devices in our everyday lives. We did however face consequences for our actions in no uncertain terms. We look at today’s society and see the glaring absence of that key element which is essential in maintaining a functional society; accountability.
Over the next few weeks our “School Communities” will be celebrating various events such as homecoming games, dances, and opportunities for social gatherings. These are all wonderful traditions and can be events which will bring fond memories for years to come, or they can become tragic events which will scar both individuals and communities well into the future. The difference will be the choices that are made at critical moments. I for one am not now nor have I ever been perfect, but I have been fortunate to have been raised among great role models and amazing teachers both in the classroom and out in the community.
While many may consider law enforcement’s role in raising our children as strictly an enforcement component, I would challenge you and ask that you think of us also as an educational resource. Kewaunee County is fortunate to have men and women who serve not just to enforce our laws and respond to calls for service, but who are willing and able to serve as a great resource in the lives of our children. We have not only our own experiences to share but also a unique perspective as a result of the work that we do. We welcome any opportunity to share our lives and experiences if that sharing helps avoid a tragedy. I hope that all have a safe and enjoyable school year, and appreciate the privileges you have been given both in the form of our educational system as well as the communities you are fortunate to be part of.