BHS welcomes Sergeant Rich for its first assembly since start of the pandemic

BHS+welcomes+Sergeant+Rich+for+its+first+assembly+since+start+of+the+pandemic

As the 2021-2022 school year continues to resemble a sense of normalcy, BHS welcomed sergeant Tom Rich for its first assembly since 2019. Rich is a 23-year veteran who is a full time member of the Summit Police Department. He worked as a detective, juvenile detective, D.A.R.E officer, and juvenile sergeant. Currently, he works as a patrol sergeant as well as administering his presentation, Always Connected, nationwide.

Freshman, sophomores, and juniors were pulled out of class to listen to Rich’s presentation about the responsibilities that come with having social media and browsing the internet.

Rich has spoken at over 700 events, and has reached 1,000,000 students throughout the United States and Canada. He has also been featured on Good Morning America, CNN, and Fox television.

Rich started to speak to students about the digital world because “[he] taught in the DARE program at first and [he] knew influencing our youth was something [he] had a passion to do.”

Rich’s presentation was engaging, as he showed videos of his own children, and talked about his personal experiences in the police department and the schools he has spoken at.

He went into the personal and legal consequences of misusing the internet and social media, and opened student’s eyes to the way being wrapped up in the digital world leads to unhealthy self comparison. He offers advice on how to use the popular apps- Snapchat, Facebook, Instragam, etc.- in a positive way.

Rich states that “the one thing [he] would hope students got out of [his] message is that they have the power to make a difference!” He wants his “audiences to speak up and speak out about things they see that are wrong.”

This presentation has been administered for students from kindergarten through 12th grade as well as parents. Rich explains that his presentations are age appropriate, and parents receive the “uncut, unedited raw truth about what is going on and what is important to know if you have a child online.” He wants parents to know their responsibility in keeping their children safe in the online world.

Students enjoyed and appreciated Rich’s assembly. Sean Cross (‘24) says that “Sergeant Rich was great at grabbing everyone’s attention in the assembly, and he “also felt that he understood what it’s like to be a teenager in today’s society.” Additionally, Georgia Kissel (‘25) emphasizes that she liked “the assembly because it taught [her] a lot about internet safety.”

Ultimately, Rich finds his work extremely rewarding, his favorite part being “when people come up to [him] after and talk to [him].” He explains that “all it takes is for one person to get something out of [his] message and it is all worth it.”

Looking towards the future, Rich wishes to speak to as many people as possible and continue to work with companies such as STOPit Solutions, whose mission is to stop cyberbullying.

Ultimately, Sergeant Rich will continue to “make a difference one day at a time,” and BHS thanks him for the impact he has made on student’s lives with his informative, inspiring, and engaging presentation.