FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. — Every day when we send our kids off to school, as parents, we hope they’ll be in good hands and stay safe.
Almost all of our schools have someone inside and on the ground whose number one priority is the safety of our kids. That person is a school resource officer. For Fernandina Beach High School, that person is Officer Brian Evatt.
“I was born and raised in Nassau County,” says Evatt. “I graduated from this high school. Both of my kids have graduated from this high school.”
Evatt is the man in charge of protecting the students and staff of Fernandina beach high school. He knows these hallways well. Staff tells Action News Jax his dedication to this school runs deep.
“I try to treat everyone like my kids,” says Evatt.
But his responsibility goes even deeper, beyond just the badge. With the school running at just over 50 staff members and nearly 1,000 students, Evatt is tasked with protecting all of them.
At a time where school shootings are a deadly reality, he knows just how important his role is. He agrees there’s even more at stake with just how common those school shootings have become.
“He’s able to stop things before they even happen,” says principal Chris Webber.
Webber knows how crucial school resource officers are, whether in an emergency, or just during a regular school day.
“He’s got a passion, you know, for the school itself,” says Webber.
Both Webber and officer Evatt say it’s the relationship that officer builds with the students that can really make an impact.
“Do you think it makes a real difference? Being able to have somebody like you walking the halls having a friendly face?” asked Action News Jax anchor, Chandler Morgan.
“I hope it’s a it’s a positive interaction with a police officer. For a lot of these kids, you are their first interaction that they’ll ever have with the police,” says Evatt.
After the school bell rings, officer Evatt heads to the baseball field. That’s where he coaches the JV baseball team.
“By being like a good person, and just treating them, like i would want somebody to treat my kids, I hope that that opens up their eyes and lets them understand that we’re all human,” says Evatt.
“You can tell he cares about the kids and he puts the kids first for all the decisions we make,” says Webber. “It is the best resource we have.”
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