Cop virtually reads to kids from patrol car during coronavirus school closures

Credit: Screenshot from city of Marietta's video

Credit: Screenshot from city of Marietta's video

A Marietta school resource officer is using technology to keep up his routine of reading to students learning from home due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The city has so far recorded officer Paul Hill reading a book from his patrol car. The first video, which was uploaded April 1 to the city's Facebook page, shows Hill reading Dr. Seuss' "You Are Kind."

Marietta City Schools have been closed since March 16 due to the pandemic, but the system is using online learning tools to teach children from home.

Because he’s unable to read to students in person, Hill said the videos allow him to still “be there for all my kids.”

“I thought it would be a good way for kids to see me again and a way for me to reach out to them,” he said.

Hill, who has been an elementary school resource officer for about two years and a police officer for about 10 years, said he’s received a lot of community feedback since the city uploaded the video about a week ago.

“They’ve enjoyed getting to see me and everybody knows the love I have for Dr. Seuss,” he added.

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The video has been shared more than 80 times, including by residents, Marietta schools and community organizations.

Hill, who also serves as the back up public information officer for the police department, is assigned to five elementary schools that he said collectively have a student enrollment of about 2,500.

Because he's unable to carry out his traditional duties, Hill is also helping Marietta City Schools distribute food at several locations around the city to students in need.

While at these stops, Hill said he uses the opportunity (while practicing social distancing, of course) to talk to the students to “make sure they are OK.” He also asks if they need anything like computers or food to help them at home.

“All my kids seem to be doing OK,” he said. “They are trying to navigate this new way of doing school.”

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The officer also praised the school system and Superintendent Dr. Grant Rivera for their efforts to help students transition from learning in a classroom to staying on track at home.

The teachers, principals and staff members are working as hard as they can “to make sure the kids and families are taken care of,” he said.

“MCS is doing a fabulous job of taking care of all their students,” he said. “Dr. Rivera is always concerned about his kids and takes a very active part in making sure his kids are OK.”

Hill said he plans to read more books to students from the city's Facebook page.