Courtesy:  Michigan State Police

LANSING — Thirty-one law enforcement officers graduated from the Teaching, Educating, And Mentoring (T.E.A.M.) School Liaison Program, developed by the Michigan State Police (MSP) to teach personal safety lessons in schools, on Friday, December 12.

Officers from the U.P. who graduated include:

  • Trooper Matt Djerf — MSP Calumet Post
  • Trooper Jerome Mazuerk — MSP Wakefield Post
  • Officer George Peterson — Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior

The T.E.A.M. program is a proactive effort to make schools and communities safer by promoting an understanding of social rules, the consequences of unlawful behavior and students’ responsibilities as good citizens. It has been implemented in approximately 250 Michigan school districts, as well as in several other states.

“Promoting safety for all our children requires continued partnerships of schools, parents, communities and law enforcement agencies,” said F/Lt. Gabriel Covey, commander of the MSP Prevention Services Unit. “It is very rewarding to see the dedication and commitment these officers have shown to bring the important safety messages of the T.E.A.M. program to the schools.”

The T.E.A.M. training allows officers to teach at any of the three levels of education including elementary, middle or high school. The elementary school curriculum teaches students basic safety rules such as bicycle and pedestrian safety, the proper use of 911, fire and gun prevention and being safe on the Internet.

The middle school curriculum is designed to improve the citizenship skills of students and provide an understanding of rules and laws in society. It also teaches teens skills on how to recognize and be more aware of personal safety issues. The curriculum exposes students to the cause and effect of violence and teaches how to constructively handle conflict.

The high school curriculum provides a realistic picture of the roles and responsibilities of law enforcement officers. It also includes a discussion on triggers that can cause young people to become angry and provides techniques to resolve conflicts and develop good problem-solving skills. The high school curriculum further educates students in the practical application of constitutional law and creates awareness regarding personal safety issues such as bullying, sexting and driver safety.

Every level of the T.E.A.M. curriculum includes a lesson on the importance of being involved in the community and preparing in advance for natural and manmade disasters. These lessons also encourage the students and their families to create a preparedness kit that would contain necessary items during an emergency. In addition, bullying awareness and prevention programs are included in the curriculum to help law enforcement officers address bullying situations more effectively. Developed by the Michigan’s Law Enforcement Bullying Task Force, the program covers what bullying is and is not, how bullying makes a person feel and what the students can do if they are bullied or witness someone else being bullied. For older students, the program also addresses cyber bullying.