New school resource officer Maurice Smith

Smith enjoys working, helping students


Maria Perez Barriga

School resource officer Maurice Smith types on his laptop in his office at Park. Smith applied due to his passion for working with kids and began his new role for the 2020-21 school year.

Maria Perez Barriga

When he heard Park will return to distance learning Nov. 16, officer Maurice Smith said he was unhappy as he just started to get to know students during hybrid. 

“I was pretty sad about (the switch) and the reason for that is just because I’ve only been in the school for about three weeks and I’m still figuring it out, and I felt like I was just starting to get comfortable around people,” Smith said. 

According to Smith, he believes he was chosen for the role due to his enthusiasm toward working with students. 

“(I was picked) because of my passion for working with kids and things like that. I went to college for corrections. My goal was to work as a juvenile probation officer. So I’ve always had a passion for helping kids and working with the youth,” Smith said.

According to senior Grace Kanyinku, she met Smith during her time at TreeHouse which is an organization that gives a safe space for teens to hang out and is glad he was appointed as the new school resource officer for Park.

“He’s cool as a person, and he’s really nice and smart. The only thing is that I just don’t like resource officers in general, but as a person he’s great,” Kanyinku said. “If there had to be a school resource officer, he’s not a bad choice. I’m glad it’s him; I (would) either like to have him or (have) no resource officer at all.”

Smith said he is grateful for the opportunity to be able to to interact and create relationships with students. 

“I feel like I’ve been able to have somewhat of a positive influence, for some of the kids that I’ve had the opportunity to work and just get to know them more on a personal level,” Smith said. 

Freshman Ella Nguyen said knowing that Smith enjoys his role as the school resource officer makes it easier for students to ask for help. 

“That’s good (Smith is passionate to work with students). I feel like if teachers or someone who helps you out is more interested in doing it, then that kind of helps out and makes you feel a little bit better,” Nguyen said.

Senior Evan Nelson said he appreciates that Smith wants to be there for students but feels it would be difficult for some students to form a bond due to what has happened this year.  

“It’s cool that he wants to work with kids and help them, but it’s 2020 and everyone knows this year has been really horrible when it comes to cops killing innocent black people, especially younger teenagers,” Nelson said. “It’s just going to be really hard for him to try to find that bond in student relationships and to help students.” 

Smith said he remembers his experience as a teen and hopes students will be able to talk with him when they need any help or have questions. 

“I’m just like every other student here. I was in high school not too long ago. I can relate to you guys. I understand that (with) all of you being teenagers you’re gonna make bad decisions at times, but it’s just teenagers being teenagers. That was me at one point,” Smith said. “I want them to always just feel comfortable coming to me and talking to me, if they have any questions and things like that, I just want them to come to me.”