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WATCH: School Resource Officer Who Touched the Lives of Students Given Emotional Send-Off From Grateful Students

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For so many children living in troubled homes, the dedication and care of another adult, especially at school, can make a world of difference. One teacher, one bus driver, or in this case, one school resource officer, can leave a lasting positive impact on a child who doesn’t have anyone else in their corner.

To the students at Cooper Academy in Fresno, California, student neighborhood resource officer Conrado Martin and his “fatherly approach” were a deeply appreciated part of their school day.

A sixteen-year veteran of the Fresno Police Department, Martin first took up his post as the school’s SRO three years ago and, according to a video posted by the Fresno Unified School District, he was a little reluctant about it.

“I’ve got five kids at home,” he said in a heartwarming video put together by the district, wondering if he could handle 642 more.

“When we’re uncomfortable about doing something, and somebody knows your specialty, sometimes you gotta believe in what the man upstairs is calling you to do,” Martin said in the video, explaining how he felt led by the Lord to accept the position in spite of his apprehension. “Even if it doesn’t seem right—feel right, you gotta believe that He’s ordaining something better for you.”

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Indeed, God definitely was calling Martin into something bigger and better. Right off the bat, he got to work influencing and guiding troubled youth in the school, especially children without fathers in their lives.

“The first thing I saw was several kids who were without fathers and, me being a father myself, there has to be something I can do to give back to these kids,” Martin said in the video. “We don’t know what [each] child has went through the night before.”

Many of Cooper Academy’s students are growing up in rough neighborhoods and would otherwise likely have become afraid or mistrusting of police, something Martin has actively sought to prevent.

To bond with students and give them crucial character training they may not be getting at home, Martin began The Officers Club which teaches kids seven key principles—integrity, honesty, respect, courtesy, responsibility, accountability, and forgiveness—over a seven-week course.

Martin’s firm but considerate guidance is definitely having an effect at the school, Cooper principal Sandra Auble shared with KFSN. “Our kids are asking for him on a daily basis and when he’s not here, students are disappointed.”

Sadly, the Cooper Academy students learned recently that Officer Martin had been promoted to sergeant by the Fresno Police Department, meaning he’d be moving on from his role as SRO. As he left the building on his last day at work, the Cooper Academy students lined the halls to give him an amazing send-off.

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So, although Martin is moving on from the school district, his care and dedication to the children he served are sure to have a long-lasting impact on the community he continues to protect and serve.

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