School resource officer answers tough questions about race, police responsibilities


Hezekiah Likekele

School Resource Officer George Hyson in front of his squad car at Watkins Mill High School

Gabriel Leonard, Kola Akinnibi, and Hezekiah Likekele

School resource officer George Hyson spends his days protecting the students at Watkins Mill, but when the badge comes off he is like any other African American male.

And his life matters.

Recently, the Black Lives Matter movement has risen in intensity along with the number of police brutality cases and police killings involving African Americans. But “for the police department, we don’t racially profile,” Hyson said. “That’s not what we do.” 

Many people currently feel threatened by the police officers who were specifically hired to protect us.  It can be difficult to remember that not all police officers are responsible for the crimes committed against innocent black people, but often police officers as a whole are shown resentment because of the few who are. But what is life like for someone who is both African American and a police officer?

Hyson transferred to Watkins Mill High School from Mark Twain High School and also served on a community action team. Hyson graduated from Albert Einstein High School, and because he’s from Montgomery County, he said that he knows what it’s like to grow up here. “I’ve also been in contact with the police before,” Hyson added; in many ways, Hyson isn’t so different from Watkins Mill students.

Often, people think the reason they have been stopped or are being questioned is because of their race, but Hyson wants everyone to know that no police officer he has ever worked with has thought of race first.   “I can’t tell looking through the back of a car window whether you’re black, white, or Hispanic,” Hyson said.

I can’t tell looking through the back of a car window whether you’re black, white, or Hispanic.”

Hyson also said attitude is important because “in some way, shape, or form, everyone’s going to have an interaction with the police, but [how that interaction goes] depends how you deal with the person.”

In any group, whether it be police officers or teachers or even students, there are people who make mistakes. “Police have to fight through emotions like fear and anger in order to reach the actual problem,” Hyson added. But, Hyson said that all people are important and “all lives matter.” And that includes police officers.

Police officers are human too. Their job frequently requires them to put their own safety on the line for the safety of others. Hyson himself has been to six funerals for his fellow officers.

If someone was hurting you, I would throw my life or my body to protect the students of Watkins Mill High School.”

Hyson says the hatred toward police officers upsets him because he puts others before himself every day. “If someone was hurting you, I would throw my life or my body” to protect the students of Watkins Mill High School, Hyson added.

While seeing his police car in front of the school may initially cause feelings of anxiety, Officer Hyson’s presence makes Watkins Mill a safer, more peaceful place.   

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