School Resource Officer is a Dream Come True for Saline’s Morgan Sieja


Saline’s School Resource Officer Morgan Sieja. Photo by Carleen Nesvig-Nelson.

By Carleen Nelson-Nesvig, STN Writer

Officer Morgan Sieja had been with the police department for about three and a half years when the School Resource Officer for Saline Area Schools retired in 2020. Officer Sieja knew her passion was in mentoring and guiding youth. She was ready to jump at the job opening, but the schools were pandemically shut down.

“I have always had an interest and passion to work with the kids, said Officer Sieja. “When I was in college, I worked in a youth center for a few years, and I just loved it., but I needed more.”

But with the schools empty of students, the position was eliminated. Sieja was disappointed. “There is no fit for someone to be in the school if everything is shut down,” she said. Despite this setback, Sieja remained determined to become a School Resource Officer and positively impact students' lives.

The need for a school resource officer became more evident as the schools started reopening. The chaos and challenges resulting from the shutdown prompted city officials to reevaluate the vital role of a School Resource Officer. Eventually, they approved the position reinstated to recognize the importance of maintaining a safe and supportive student environment.

Sieja seized this opportunity and interviewed for the position, showcasing her passion and commitment to the well-being of students. Officer Sieja explained, “During my interview, I presented a PowerPoint on sexting and child pornography, highlighting the pressing issues students face in the modern digital age.” Following the interview, Sieja’s dream to be a school resource officer became a reality when she was offered the position.

With her background of working at a youth center during college and a personal interest in connecting with and mentoring kids, the police force decision-makers felt she was well-suited for the role. Chief of Police Radzik shared, “Sieja is the perfect fit for the job. She understands the significance of building relationships with students and creating an atmosphere of trust and openness.”

Officer Sieja wants students to know that her primary goal will be to show them that law enforcement officers are there to support and mentor them, not to look down on them or be a source of fear.

She began her new role as the School Resource Officer last week with enthusiasm. Her jurisdiction covers multiple schools, including a middle school, three elementary schools, and an alternative high school. Her initial days have been spent setting up her office and getting acquainted with the school staff and facilities.

Visitors to her office at the middle school will have no problem locating her. Just look for the student-crafted artwork of a police officer’s uniform hanging on her door.

Sieja wants everyone to know that her approach to working with different age groups is tailored to their needs and understanding. She will focus on building rapport with younger children through activities like reading books. At the same time, older students will be more engaged in age-appropriate presentations, discussions, and interactions.

“My work is cut out for me,” Sieja says with a big smile. Her mission is to not only address law enforcement-related topics but also to serve as a mentor students can confide in. “It is pretty much for me to show them that cops are here for them. They can come to me if they need anything, even if it is just to have an officer come sit down and debrief them in the class,” she adds. “I aim to positively impact their lives and help them navigate challenges, whether related to school, personal issues, or decision-making.”

Sieja’s voice takes on a serious tone when addressing topics such as sexting, cyberbullying, and drug use. “I want the students to know they can trust me, but l also want them to know that we are not going to allow certain things to happen,” she said. “If they are bringing vape to school or drinking alcohol on school grounds or even just bringing it to show their friends, there are going to be (consequences).”

“I hope my presence will be enough to alleviate some of those things going on,” she adds. “In some cases, it is like a parental role. I am going to love them enough to make sure they stay straight.”

Sieja describes her interactions with teachers, staff, and students as welcoming and approachable. She wants the students to view her as a friend and a confidant, someone they could rely on during their formative years. Her message is clear: Law enforcement officers are here to help and support, and her goal is to change the narrative around law enforcement and build a positive relationship with the community.

As her journey as a school resource officer begins, Officer Sieja is focused on relationship-building, effective communication, and guiding students toward positive life choices.

“I look forward to making a lasting impact on the lives of those I interact with,” she says. For her, it is a dream come true.

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