Inside Ponte Vedra High School, there is a club that many students describe as “unique”.
It’s called the Law Enforcement Club, and it’s coming back for the 2022-2023 school year.
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Students and school staff rely daily on St. Johns County Deputy Jared Monie, the school’s resource manager, to help keep them safe.
“All these kids here at school,” Monie said. “Responsible for all 2000 of them.”
Monie says her job isn’t just about safety.
“Any hour of the day or night, they know they can come and talk to me,” explains Monie.
He says it is also his duty to help break down biases about law enforcement.
“I want these kids to have a different impression of law enforcement, a positive impression,” Monie says.
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He says it starts with sitting down and having a conversation with them.
Monie says it’s good for students to know what to expect if they were to be pulled over by law enforcement.
At least once a month, Monie sits down with the students, he is sometimes joined by other officers or deputies, and simply chats with them.
They discussed traffic stops, the use of an AED and the use of a tourniquet.
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Student Paulina Sidhu says the club has been helpful in more ways than one.
“There’s a lot of negative prejudice about police officers,” Sidhu says.
She says such conversations help break down those stigmas.
“It’s the kind of conversations that help teenagers and the police understand each other better,” says Sidhu.
“We have no idea who pulled over or what’s in the car,” Monie explained during one of the club’s meetings.
“A lot of new guys think the worst, they think ‘Oh he’s going to get a gun,'” Monie said in a meeting. “Before you arrive, say ‘hey, my wallet is in my console.'”
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“I learned that not only are they policemen, but they are people,” says Sidhu. “It changed a lot for me.”
Monie has been with the force for 17 years, but he says participating in activities that allow him to build relationships with students are by far the most rewarding aspects of his job.
“We’re here to help them, we’re here to support them and do everything we can for him and all these kids here at school,” says Monie.
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