Bay Harbor Islands teacher goes extra mile for at-risk youth


Special to the Miami Herald

Helping at-risk youth is a priority for one Bay Harbor Islands teacher.

Blanton Harris has been consistently meeting with a group of students who are frequently admitted into disciplinary classes at Ruth K. Broad Elementary/Middle School. Becausre of his efforts, the police department will start a junior explorer program this fall and include some of Harris’ best students.

The students, admitted into what’s known as CSI, have a pattern of behavior and attitudes, as well as difficulty adhering to the school’s behavioral rules.

Harris took an extra initiative and began to meet with the students every week to talk about some of the issues they face, including dealing with teachers or problems they have at home.

The group of about 8 to 10 kids meets voluntarily every Wednesday in the school and has had the opportunity to listen to guest speakers, go on field trips and receive mentoring.

So far, as a result of Harris’ efforts, some of the students are showing interest in law enforcement and the military as possible career paths.

Bay Harbor police Lt. Joe Locke has also taken a huge responsibility with helping the kids and is one of the reasons that some of the kids are thinking about the criminal justice system.

“The Bay Harbor Islands Police Department is excited that the school has a partnership with us to help bridge the gap between law enforcement and the youth in the community,” Chief Sean Hemingway said.

Starting this fall, students will be able to interact with police officers and learn about their duties.

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