School District 186 officers surprise student facing hardships
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WRSP) —
Many times, parents and teachers may not realize when a child is struggling.
One student at Southeast was having a hard time.
Now a viral District 186 post, reaching over 10,000 people within one day, shows how two school officers took money out of their own pockets to buy something special for that student.
Two Southeast High School officers, Andy Tinsley and Larry Hale, presented freshman Johnathon Wood with his very own Kindle.
"I was just so amazed,” Wood said. “They were so nice.”
But this kind gesture comes after hardship.
"He was down,”1st-year Resource Officer Andy Tinsley said. “He was just down in the dumps."
"He would push me around,” Johnathon said. “Call me names [and] talk about my family."
He reached out to the officers saying he was getting bullied in school.
"How hard bullying is and it just brought me and them closer,” Wood said. “And we talked about like, how I like reading. We just stuck together and we've just been bonding ever since."
According to Stopbullying.gov, reports are going up, which may be due to raising awareness.
But for Johnathon, there was more.
"He said his mom went to work from 5 am to 5 pm every day,” Tinsley said. “He was just so proud of her and he worried all the time."
"We began to get a little picture of what this kid was going through and our hearts went out to him,” Southeast High School Security Officer Larry Hale said.
Johnathon’s escape is reading books. He went through 5-6 books a week.
"An escape and peace of mind,” Johnathon said.
District 186 officials say students can struggle.
"Whether academically, socially, emotionally,” Public Relations Marketing Coordinator for District 186 Bree Hankins said. “When they have issues, we're just glad we have so many caring adults. There's a wealth of support there for all of our students."
"Over my 24 years here,” Hale said. “And 30 years coaching basketball... hundreds [and] hundreds of kids."
Hale has helped out many kids who confide in him with their struggles.
"Have a good heart,” Tinsley said. “Good things happen."
"I didn't think they would get me that,” Johnathon said. “It's been making my day. I’ve been smiling ever since."
Johnathon said he plans on going to Harvard to become a book writer or engineer.
His mom said she's very proud of her son.
Every District 186 building has access to a social worker and psychologist. Southeast has one social worker on site.
If you think your child needs help, be sure to reach out to the available school resources.