More Than a Job

Posted on October 01, 2018

Making a Difference, In & Out of School

Eric Benson is the kind of man who makes a difference, quietly and without fanfare. Every single day he takes the time to listen and works to put a change in place — for the better — when necessary.

Eric is a Town of Avon police officer and the school resource officer (SRO) for Avon Elementary School. And the way he talks, it’s more than a job. “As a school resource officer, I get to spend time in the elementary school. My focus is on mentoring students, teaching in classes and overseeing the safety of the staff and students,” he explains.
eric benson

Eric had worked in schools previously, so it seemed a natural fit for him to got back to school, so to speak, but in a new role — and one that benefits the students and parents. That should be noted: he works directly with students but helps parents find solutions for tricky situations, such as social media usage and technology. Eric doesn’t work in a bubble and leave the issues at the end of the day.

“I enjoy getting to interact with the students at school as well as encourage families who are going through a tough time. I get to hang out with kids at lunch and answer constant questions about what I actually do as a police officer (it is surprising for them to hear I don’t JUST arrest people all day),” Eric shares.

All of us do our best as parents and employees, friends and neighbors. It can feel overwhelming, especially if a child has problems at school. Eric sees the problems but goes beyond the simple solution. He talks with families and really provides input and ideas to help create a stronger, better home, and school, life.  

He seems family conflict as an ongoing challenge — families are constrained by time and money. That stress shows in families.

“Another challenge kids face is the influence of social media in their lives. Negative use can cause stress and anxiety for the child, as well as diminish the closeness of relationships in the home,” Eric says — and most of us have seen it firsthand or secondhand. “The way I try to help is to encourage parents to get quantity (not just quality) time with their kids. When I’ve dealt with kids who have gotten in trouble, I have tried to encourage parents to invest in them all the more to help teach and support their child.”

In other words, sometimes just being there, being available, helps decrease conflict and opens up lines of communication.

“These are critical learning moments for kids, and parents can really help or hurt the process.  For social media issues, I have put together a presentation to help educate parents and teachers about the impact social media can have on a child.  It also encourages parents to get involved in leading their child to learn what healthy social media behavior is,” he adds.

He and Community Education Manager at ERYC, Carol Johnson, presented such a presentation to hundreds of teachers at the start of the school year to great success.

“He really cares about the people he is serving. He goes above and beyond to show he cares and to help people better their lives,” Carol says.

And it’s those caring moments that we all —kids, parents, teachers, adults — remember and are grateful for.

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