Students earn lunchtime with police for good behavior

1 year ago

FORT KENT, Maine – It wasn’t just the trays of expertly cooked chicken and sweet potato fries that brought police and students together for lunch at the Fort Kent Elementary School cafeteria last week.

Third grader Luke McBreairty and third-grader Keira Babin chose to eat lunch with Sgt. Cole Pelletier and Officer Mark Belanger of Fort Kent Police Department as a reward for the youngsters’ good behavior at the school.

“Students at Fort Kent Elementary School are rewarded with Warrior pride tickets when they are identified doing something above and beyond,” school social worker Marian Bouchard said. 

The rewards are part of a “Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports” program at the school. Students who earn tickets can redeem them at a monthly “Warrior Trading Post.” Rewards include prizes such as movie tickets or fast food gift cards or experiences such as playing basketball with a staff member or eating lunch with law enforcement. 

McBreairty and Babin, both of whom attend Miss Lynn Plourde’s third grade class, knew exactly how they wanted to spend their Warrior pride tickets.

“They had lots of choice in picking their reward but saved their tickets to specifically choose eating with the officers,” Plourde said.

Pelletier said he and Belanger were happy to spend time with the young students, and the meal conversation flowed freely. 

“It’s good to show the kids we’re not always just police officers; we’re just regular people that can share lunch with them,”  Pelletier said. “We talked about what they are learning in school, what wanted to do when they grew up, all kinds of different things.”

Luke shared with the officers his desire to become a football player and Keira said she wants to become a nurse.

Plourde identified the positive behaviors in the two students that led to them receiving tickets. 

“They earned them for a variety of things but all of them consisted of following our school code of conduct which are as follows: engaged and invested, honest , respectful, and/or being responsible learners,” Plourde said. 

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified the students’ grade and misspelled Keira Babin’s name.