3 Questions with Becky Coyle
What made you choose to write about some of the difficult topics related to elementary school safety?
You know, our society is different now. Unfortunately, on rare occasions the unthinkable happens. Right after Sandy Hook and the birth of my first grandchild, our department decided to place officers in all of our local schools, including elementary schools. Though most of the children were comfortable with my presence, some understandably were not. I wrote my series (Police in Our School, The Lockdown Drill, and Who Let the Dog In?) initially because I wanted to offer a way to connect with the children under my protective wing and to help them feel safe. It’s very important to me that we gently help our children understand the changes in their school without scaring them. My books concentrate on the procedures, not the reasons we have the procedures in place. I think many of us can agree that the reasons for the procedures are topics that are better left to be discussed by adults, not our precious children.
There is a lot of controversy in the media in regard to police officers. What do you say to those who don’t necessarily believe that we should have officers in elementary schools?
I understand there are many wonderful people across our country who haven’t had the best experiences with law enforcement.
Typically, those who feel strongly about this topic have been impacted in some way by a negative experience. As parents, we instinctively want to protect our children. In fact, when I made the decision to take the assignment at an elementary school, honestly, my grandchild was at the forefront of my mind. I am aware of the image some people have of officers who work in schools, but overall that image isn’t an accurate representation of the officers who are working in elementary schools.
Officers who choose to work in our schools are carefully vetted and chosen for these critical roles. We understand the importance of building a relationship of trust with our students and we want to make a difference!
Police In Our School was written to help little ones understand the reason for our presence, as well as encourage a trusting relationship with law enforcement. In fact, the relationship building appears to be making a huge difference! Because of the trust being built at a younger age, we are seeing lower crime rates in middle and high schools. The positive relationships are enabling children to feel more comfortable reporting problems, which in turn can reduce incidents all around.
Are there any new titles in The Police in Our Schools series that we should look for in the near future?
I do have a couple of exciting things underway! School Bus Safety, the newest addition to the series, will be released fall 2018! Our wonderful illustrator JuanbJuan Oliver has done a beautiful job on this book! I think it’s my favorite so far! The new title focuses on school bus rules, touching lightly on basic traffic signs. I’m also currently working on a project to introduce Internet safety. Unfortunately, Internet crimes are increasing at an alarming rate. Because of the rise in younger children using electronics, I feel this topic needs to be introduced to a younger age group. Overall, I hope to continue educating kids and creating books that act as resources that both teachers and parents can trust.
About Becky Coyle
Becky Coyle combines her passion for writing and her work as a deputy sheriff and school resource officer to create informative and engaging books that help children understand the importance of safety in their schools. She lives in Tennessee with her husband John and their two dogs, Rookie and Cadet, and she is the proud mother and grandmother of four wonderful children and five exceptional grandchildren.