The Broadalbin-Perth Central School District is inviting all uniformed law enforcement officers to eat breakfast or lunch for free with students. Through the new program, the Blue Plate Special, officers can visit any of the district’s four schools during meal serving times, which span most of the school day.
“The Blue Plate Special program encourages law enforcement officers to develop relationships with our students in a relaxed, informal setting,” said Superintendent of Schools Stephen Tomlinson. “While sharing meals with the officers, our students will come to see them as trusted adults — not people to be afraid of. And the participating officers will gain a better understanding of our students and schools.”
Tomlinson said that a secondary benefit of the program is as a deterrent to individuals who might wish to do harm in our schools. “We’re delivering a message to anyone who would ever consider coming to our schools to do harm: there could be a uniformed police officer in any of our buildings at any given time. Our food service programs run nearly the length of the entire school day,” Tomlinson said.
Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino joined Tomlinson to announce the program during a press conference Thursday, Nov. 8. “All too often we’re at our local schools for the wrong reasons. The Blue Plate Special gives law enforcement officers a chance to spend time with students in a non-confrontational, welcoming atmosphere,” Giardino said.
The program, which is the first of its kind in the region, is being sponsored by the middle school’s Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program and school store, which will pay for the officers’ meals.