A Rockwood high school SRO (school resource officer) posted a video on social media that has captured the attention of students and parents alike.
The supportive, nurturing video contains no narration or speech. It is simply Jim McDonald, aka "Officer Mac," showing a series of handwritten messages to the camera.
"I posted it on my own YouTube channel with a link to Twitter," said McDonald, a St. Louis County Police officer. "Then people started sharing it. I got a lot of feedback from parents and students who said they liked the video and appreciated my efforts. They kept saying, 'You really care about kids,' and I do. My priority is these students. I'm a graduate and it's fun being back in my own high school."
The video carries a message that encourages young people to persevere and reach out for help.
"I hope students understand that we care about them," said McDonald. "The ones that pushed the envelope are the ones that I end up talking to all the time. Now they have me listed as their champion. I think I have 18 or 19 of those. They are the ones I get to know best."
McDonald said the key is in building relationships.
"I get a lot of – 'You're the school cop,' and things of that nature," he said.
McDonald said that's why he begins every school day out in front of the school building.
"I knuckle-bump students when they get here in the morning and reach out to the ones who don't say anything. That makes it difficult not to talk to me," he added, laughing. "It's fun. You do that a couple times and they start saying 'hello' in the hallway. It's all about relationships."