On Friday, April 12, 2019, a group of School Resource Officers (SRO) from the Hayward Police Department presented “Sober Graduation” to the senior class prior to their prom later that evening. The presentation encourages students to make wise choices regarding alcohol and drugs and helps them to understand the consequences of their choices regarding those substances.
One officer shared that he specializes in “under the influence” cases because he lost a loved one to an impaired driver. He then explained the process he goes through when he pulls someone over.
The interactive presentation included the opportunity for students to try on “DUI Goggles” to experience what it’s like to be under the influence of alcohol. Then officers put those students through part of the Field Sobriety Test that would be administered to someone suspected of being under the influence. Dean of Students, Colleen Galloway ’77, comment that this made it so “students could really see the impact different levels of alcohol had on physical coordination and eye-hand coordination.”
The group of SROs is lead by Moreau alumna Angela Irizarry ’93 and includes another MCHS alumnus, Joshua Gould ’98. Sergeant Irizarry and Officer Gould reflected on their visit and their time as Mariners.
Sgt. Irizarry was recently appointed to lead the SRO team. She became a police officer at 32 years old after several other career pursuits. She says that coming to the force later in her life, with some life experience, has allowed her to do her job with more compassion. Her goal as the new sergeant of the SRO program is to “humanize the badge,” and build relationships with the broader Hayward community, especially students and teachers. Like a good Mariner, she prides herself on building strong, lasting relationships.
Officer Gould, who has been on the force for five years, agrees. He says that his goal as a police officer is to provide resources and education, not to arrest people. He adds that programs like “Sober Graduation” encourage intergenerational communication and education for younger siblings and cousins as much as young adults. He and Sgt. Irizarry stressed that the laws that pertain to purchase, sale, and possession of illegal substances and their enforcement of them as well as the rules in the MCHS Student Handbook are meant to keep our students safe.
Both officers felt welcome upon their arrival back on campus. They both commented on the respect they witnessed from the students and how attentive the students were despite the somewhat touchy nature of their presentation. Officer Gould commented that he immediately felt “in tenebris lux all over the place!” In tenebris lux is the school motto, Latin for “in darkness there is light”. The officers experienced this light reflected in the students. But they also brought the light of hope to the students by preparing them to have a safe prom and other graduation celebrations.
Thank you Sgt. Irizarry, Officer Gould, and all the other officers who shared insights and words of wisdom with our Mariner class of 2019.