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Adults to patrol middle school

Parents of middle school students and other adults who want to make school days a little better in Langley will get their chance in a new volunteer program at Langley Middle School.

As part of its emphasis on school safety and community partnership, the school will start its new Walkabout Program this month.

Beginning with an informational and training meeting Tuesday night at the school, LMS staff will start getting a helping hand in the halls, where students are many and adults are few. The program will bring parents and other members of the community into the school to be extra sets of eyes for teachers and administrators.

The goal of the program, according to LMS vice principal Tim Gordon, is to keep students safe and comfortable.

"In schools where they do this, the kids just feel more cared about," he said.

During the school day, parents and community members will "walk about" in the school halls in pairs, helping to maintain school rules and a healthy atmosphere. Gordon said the school hopes to have four to six volunteers working the halls during each of three shifts during the school day. The shifts are before school (7:35 a.m.-8 a.m.), during lunch periods (10:35 a.m.-12:10 p.m.) and after school (2:10 p.m.-2:25 p.m.). The school will also bring volunteers to walk about during after-school events.

Volunteers for the program will have to undergo a Washington State Patrol background check. The school will provide training.

Gordon said the walkabouts are not an enforcement program. Getting extra adults in the school comes out of a recent student survey in which LMS students listed several safety concerns.

"The highest concern our students had was bullying," he said.

As the walkabout program gets going, the Langley Police Department will resume its regular visits to the school. Police Chief Bob Herzberg said department officers were not able to make many of those visits last year because the city's police force was down an officer. With the hiring of Officer Laura Price, officers should be at the school two to three times per week during lunch hours.

"We hope to restore our presence there," Herzberg said.

Tuesday's walkabout meeting will start at 7 p.m. in the the LMS Library. Those with questions or who want more information should call Tim Gordon at 221-5100 Ext. 3138, or e-mail tgordon@sw.wednet.edu.

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