While graduating students Segenthave Senthan and Hari Sathasivanathan are excited to be moving on to the next stage of their educational journey they will miss their School Resource Officer Constable Melinda Mantle.
Mantle has been at Lester B. Pearson Collegiate Institute for the last three years serving as a mentor to many students. The 42 Division 2016 Officer of the Year is among four officers assigned to five schools in the division.
“She’s such a nice and open person and she keeps us safe,” said Senthan, who will be studying at the University of Toronto. “If anything happens, she’s right around the corner. She also truly makes it seem that police officers aren’t scary. A lot of people try to keep far from the police, but this officer definitely helps to build that bridge.”
Sathasivanathan said it has been a pleasure having Mantle in his school.
“With her around, the school is a safe place,” he pointed out.
Since being posted to the Scarborough school three years ago, Mantle began bringing other officers in around Christmas and at the end of the year to serve food and meet students.
Superintendent Kim Yeandle and Staff Sergeant Andy Ecklund joined Mantle and other officers on June 8 to make breakfast for the students at their school.
The officers prepared waffles, eggs, bacon, pancakes and muffins.
“Having the police officers making breakfast for us is amazing,” said Senthan. “It’s nice to see them in this role and we appreciate what they are doing for us.”
The school’s breakfast program was launched 12 years ago.
“It’s wonderful to have the officers involved,” said Alyssa Marshall, who co-ordinates the program. “This is a great community building event for the students to come into a safe place in the morning and get a healthy breakfast served by police officers.”
The breakfast program runs three days a week.
“We started out doing this during the Christmas holidays before it was expanded,” said Mantle who has attended the school prom in the last three years. “It’s the talk of the town whenever my fellow officers come out for this big end-of-term breakfast.”
Mantle, whose father Larry Mantle retired from the Service in 2015 after nearly four decades on the job, relishes her role at the school.
“It’s a different kind of policing for me,” she said. “I get to speak at some of the law classes and go with the students on field trips.”
Yeandle, who helped prepare pancakes, said the SROs play a vital role in the schools.
“They build relationships with the young people and that’s one of the most important things we can do as police officers,” she said.
Constables Stevan Tanouye, Kathleen Petersen, Michael Burleau and Claudia Bednarczyk also helped prepared breakfast for the students.