Deputies welcome students back to school Wednesday

Deputy Jess00000000

Wednesday marked the end of summer break for many students around Tuscaloosa County, as Tuscaloosa City and Tuscaloosa County students headed back to their classrooms.

At Englewood Elementary School in south Tuscaloosa County, there were lots of smiles and only a few tears that morning.

The welcoming committee was extra-large this year for Tuscaloosa County School System.

Over at Englewood Elementary, Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Jessica McDaniel was giving out high-fives, hugs and fist bumps.

“It feels good and it’s exciting to see their smiling faces and know that the kids feel safe and secure,” McDaniel said. “We want to wish them well. It’s a good way to start the year.”

Englewood administrators said they were delighted to have McDaniel on campus this morning.

“I thanked her for her presence this morning,” said Assistant Principal Jodi Wilson. “Many of our parents expressed how happy they were she was here. She was happy she was here. It is a wonderful way  to show we are promoting safety to all our students and staff members in the Tuscaloosa County School System.”

Englewood Principal Tameka Rice agreed.

“It solidifies our partnership,” Rice said. “It gives us all a sense of security. It is always good for our kids to have a positive interaction with law enforcement. We are just excited to have them.”

But the people who seemed most excited were parents and their children.

“With all the things going on in the world today, we definitely want law enforcement and we want the kids to feel safe,” said Englewood parent Phadria Atmore. “It’s a sense of comfort for parents being away from their kids for so long, just knowing that law enforcement is there to protect them, and they are going to do their best. We know that.”

Wednesday was likely the first time many of these children have ever interacted with a law enforcement officer, and McDaniel said it’s never too early to start building these positive relationships.

“It is important for the students to know that we are here for them, we care for them, and we will do anything we can to help them,” McDaniel said.

Deputies were also at every Tuscaloosa County School System campus Wednesday afternoon for school pickup.

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