School resource officer connects with students through TikTok dance-offs

Local News

EAST SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — It’s a controversial topic in several districts, but at an East Syracuse school, having a school resource officer (SRO) seems to be working.

It all started with the video below posted on Twitter. A TikTok dance battle between Pine Grove Middle School’s SRO, Officer Triston Campbell and 6th grade student, Madelynn Schepp.

The East Syracuse-Minoa Central School District has had a longstanding partnership with the Town of Manlius Police Department to have SROs in the schools.

Officer Campbell started his role at Pine Grove at the beginning of the school year, and less than two months into his new role, he’s working to connect with students on a deeper level.

“I bring a lot of energy, I bring a lot of excitement. There’s really no secret. Kids want to be heard so I do a lot of listening, a lot of interacting,” Officer Campbell said.

His role as a school resource officer involves much more than TikToks and dance-offs. Whether it’s through the word of the day or impromptu visits to gym class, Officer Campbell says his main goal is to be someone students can trust.

Being a father, naturally, I just have a gravitation towards kids, towards children, and I wanted to utilize my capacity in a different environment, especially in the times that we’re in now as a society.

There’s nothing like it. I look forward to going to work every single day and these kids are pivotal in my life, where I’m at right now, and there’s nothing greater than seeing those smiles on their faces every single day.

Officer Triston Campbell, School Resource Officer, Pine Grove Middle School

“He’s really getting a chance to know them on an individual basis. It’s allowing those students to feel important, to feel cared about and again, that deeper level connection and in some ways just that fun dance is allowing kids to open up in a different way,” Ashleigh Wilson, Pine Grove’s principal explained.

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