Randall Middle School (RMS) was recently selected as one of seven schools for a workshop with Community and Law Enforcement Workshops & Services, Inc. (CLEWS). The CLEWS program is a workshop conducted on public school campuses to encourage dialogue between youth and law enforcement of various ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
The workshop began with discussing topics of interest to students and also included exploring patrol cars, eating lunch with the officers and planning follow-up discussions with parents. The goal CLEWS strives for at each school is to bring students and law enforcement officers together to discuss issues both groups take a vested interest in, whether at school, home or in the community. Principal Claire Mawhinney expressed her gratitude, “CLEWS was a great opportunity for our students to share their ideas and to see officers as real people. It created a positive connection between young people and law enforcement.”
Brittany Carrillo, civics teacher at Randall Middle School said, “This program correlates well with the civics curriculum. It was great to see the 45 civics students engaging in conversations with deputies on topics like guns on campus, vaping and other concerns as a middle school student.”
One RMS seventh grader Davis Abdoney added, “It was a great experience for kids to see what it is like to be a cop. My favorite part of the program was getting to see the inside of their cars and how they operate.”
CLEWS was inspired by the Police-Community Relations Workshops, originally funded by the State of Florida in 1985. Currently, the program is operated by individuals who were part of the program 20-30 years ago, including CLEWS program manager, Fred Hearns, who is retired from the City of Tampa.