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Coos Bay Schools get new resource officer
Officer Bryan Looney with Coos Bay PD is going back to school

COOS BAY – The Coos Bay School District has a new resource officer.

Coos Bay Police Officer Bryan Looney may have worked patrol for seven years and been on the local SWAT team, but now he is going back to school. Serving as the School Resource Officer (SRO) is usually a three-to-six-year assignment, depending on staffing levels. For Officer Looney, he sees it as a chance to be a positive influence in student lives.

“I'm looking forward to working with the kids, especially kids who are hesitant with law enforcement, who don't see us as people of the community just doing a job,” Looney said.

With him will be his canine, a spaniel that is trained to detect meth, cocaine and heroin, known as a “three-odor dog.”

“Hopefully there are none of those at the school,” Looney said. “Usually when there are drug problems at school, it is generally marijuana. We do still have a marijuana dog on the force, so if needed I could use him.”

Looney's duties as SRO will be to patrol the campus before school, during lunch and after school. Not only will he be seen at Marshfield High School, but at both middle and elementary schools.

“I'm responsible for the entire district,” he said. “Though I will mainly be at Marshfield.”

He is also responsible for handling all district complaints, such as fights and thefts. After speaking with former SROs, he was told to expect a lot of phone thefts and cyber bullying, which he plans on dealing with on a case-by-case basis.

“This is a drastically different job there at the school than what I'm used to,” he said.

Perhaps one aspect of his new duties will be more familiar through the annual ALICE training, which prepares students and teachers in case of an active shooter event. Instead of the usual lockdown training school districts taught to students, ALICE teaches how to fight back.

“When you drill into people to lock down, they will forever be in that lockdown mode the rest of their life,” Looney said. “Turbulent incidences are terrible to watch and I've seen videos for this training where a gunman goes through a door and is shooting colleagues and people freeze. This training provides an option. The fight back part of ALICE is the last ditch scenario, because it doesn't encourage you to go out looking for the bad guy. But instead, if the bad guy breaches, then the highest chance of survivability is fighting back.”

Looney also hopes to work with clubs since he has always had an interest in leadership, as well as journalism. In fact, he was the editor of the school newspaper back when he attended Marshfield High School 10 years ago.

“My biggest goals are to work with the kids,” he said. “I'm excited to mingle and get to know them and have a positive influence.”

Jillian Ward / JILLIAN WARD The World 

Students in first through third grade returned to school this morning at the Coos Bay School District. Madison Elementary opened its doors for students, returning to its regular class schedule for the 2017/18 school year.

Bethany Baker, The World 

Rachel Thurman takes a photo of her grandson Xander Ames, 6, on his first day of first grade at Blossom Gulch Elementary in Coos Bay on Tuesday.

North Bend High School freshmen attend Bulldog Day
First day of school teaches freshmen how to navigate North Bend High

NORTH BEND — For North Bend High School freshmen, back-to-school looks like rows of cheering and clapping teachers.

On Wednesday, doors open for freshmen only, giving them an atmosphere where they can get a quick crash-course on a-day-in-the-life at high school.

“That way its way less intimidating,” said Principal Bill Lucero. “This way they can relax and figure out how a school day in high school goes and the next day they can set aside their fears and focus on a good education.”

Teachers and staff are lined up at the doors as freshmen walk in because that is what they do on graduation night when students walk back out.

“The staff makes two lines and cheer as they leave school after graduation, which is pretty neat,” Lucero said.

However, seniors and some juniors will also be present to lead groups that first day. Lucero said the seniors and juniors are “instrumental on making this happen and making Bulldog Day a great thing. The freshmen get to be led by their older classmates, which is a good way to get to know them and see what a good role model looks like.”

Freshmen are taught how to successfully navigate high school and make the most of their next four years there. On the first day, they also get a mini class schedule, where each class is only 10 minutes long, mixed in with activities geared to help students get to know each other.

“It's the first day of school, so no one has homework, which means we do a bunch of activities for them to understand our school,” Lucero said. “Some of those activities are on the football field. It's a fun time and a great way to start the school year, giving teachers a chance to know kids in a different light.”

Lucero added that Bulldog Day has proved successful over the years, but also during the first week of school students fill out a sheet listing and explaining their hopes and dreams for high school and their career and three things they will do this year to make it happen. Then, on May 16, there will be a student-led conference on how those goals were accomplished.

“We're excited for another school year,” Lucero said. “We have some new programs, new technology offerings. Our program keeps getting more diverse and meets the needs of more and more kids. All in all, it's going to be a great year.”