Pirate News: Hart Police Department begins TEAM instruction.

February 14, 2020

Pirate News: Hart Police Department begins TEAM instruction.


Pirate News is a service of Hart Public Schools in cooperation with Oceana County Press.

HART — Beginning this month, the Hart Police Department will begin instructing the TEAM program (Teaching, Educating And Mentoring) to the Hart Middle School fifth grade students.

“TEAM is a school-based law related education program taught by specially-trained officers,” said Hart Police Chief Juan Salazar. “Unlawful and youthful risk-taking behavior is addressed in this program, with lessons on the laws and consequences that commonly affect students.”

D/Sgt. Kevin Skipski of the Hart Police Department, who is TEAM instructor at Hart Middle School.
– OCP file photo.

The Hart Police Department has been teaching the TEAM curriculum to the fifth grade students at Hart Middle School for the past 12 years. “Both students and teachers have found the program to be rewarding in every aspect and continue to show their support for the program,” said Salazar.

The Hart Police Department also participates in an annual grant to continue to teach STEP to the fifth grade students. STEP (Student Tools for Emergency Planning) is funded by a Michigan State Police/Homeland Security grant which allows certified instructors to teach preparation techniques during national and inclement weather emergencies. At the conclusion of the course, each student is given a STEP backpack containing various emergency preparation items. The goal of the class is to promote the students to continue to add emergency equipment to the backpack in case of a real emergency. STEP is currently taught in conjunction with the TEAM program.

“Throughout the past three years, the Hart Police Department has paid special attention to our students and staff at Hart Public Schools by providing an officer to act as a school resource officer,” said Salazar. D/Sgt. Kevin Skipski is a 23-year veteran of the department and a certified TEAM instructor.

“I think the students have done a great job bonding with me,” said Skipski. I’ve had many of them in TEAM during fifth grade and always told them that I would see them through their entire high school career, so here I am.”

“Detective Sgt. Skipski has taught several safety classes to the students, covering life topics such as drug identification, sexting, Miranda and Holocaust presentations,” said Salazar. “Det. Sgt. Skipski also is a direct contact for principals and dean of students to assist with on-campus issues that may arise on- or off-campus.

HMS student Kendal Williamson reads her TEAM essay during the TEAM graduation ceremony.
– OCP file photo

“Our goal at the Hart Police Department is to maintain a sense of police presence on campus to help deter any active school violence said Chief Salazar. “Being a presence at the schools during different hours of the day, allows students to interact with Sgt. Skipski and also establish a trusting relationship with him.”

Throughout the week, D/Sgt. Skipski visits each school and reassures a safe and successful learning environment.

“We have such a great group of teachers and staff at our Hart Public Schools,” said Skipski. “They are always grateful to see me when I come in and have definitely extended an open invitation to visit the school at any time. Working with such great staff and principals all combines for a safe learning environment for our students.”

This story is copyrighted © 2020, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.



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