Tea with Lee: The Bubble of Imagine

Written By: Sydney Brown (10)
Edited By: Mabrey Matz (11)

November 25, 2019

***This interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

Last year, Imagine recruited a new member to its team: Officer Janio Lee, our Student Resource Officer (SRO). Now that he’s been at our school for a full year, we decided to speak with him about his experiences, his favorite parts as an SRO, how he feels about the sheltered “bubble” of Imagine, as well as its areas for potential  growth.

Q: Have you enjoyed your time at Imagine?

Lee: “Yes!”

Q: What is your favorite part about working here?

Lee: “The students. We’re a very diverse school, and I have a lot of fun getting to know the students and their different backgrounds. “

Q: What are your main responsibilities?

Lee: “My main responsibilities are the safety and security of the school. My number one objective is to make sure all the students and staff are safe in this environment. My second priority is building relationships with students and teachers.

Thirdly, I hope I’ve put on a behavior that when students see cops in uniform, they feel comfortable approaching them for help. “

Q: Are there any expectations you had coming in that Imagine has met or differed from?

Lee: To be honest, yeah. One of the stereotypes is that this school is a little sheltered and that students live in their own bubble. Because of that, the realism of the outside world isn’t shown as much here. The tradeoff is the kids have a different perspective towards world events and a more idealistic view to the point where they’re working to make change and defy stereotypes. Also, the concept that Imagine is a very smart, academically driven school, has been reinforced. But nothing negative!”

Q: What is the most common problem you’ve seen at Imagine that we’re trying to solve?

Lee: “I don’t want to call it a problem, but I think something to expand on is that aspect of realism. I think that when you live in a bubble and something bad happens, we tend to overreact and paint a broad brush on an isolated incident. I don’t want that to happen here. 

I do think we should be more aware of the environment and methods to protect ourselves. For example, if you don’t recognize someone, it’s not wrong to notify an adult or ask them about their business.This is our school and it’s everyone’s responsibility to protect it 

Be vigilant, be aware, know there are dangers out there. We can’t stop everything, but if we can try to prevent it, we’ve done the best we can possibly do.”

Q: Have you noticed any changes since you’ve come to the campus?

Lee: I think that the bubble is getting bigger, and hopefully at some point it will bust. Talking to students during lunch and presentations has let students realize that everything’s not perfect there are laws that apply to us that the school can’t protect us from. I think students are realizing the laws are starting to catch up and they’re being more careful. My goal is to prevent the school to prison pipeline, so I try to educate the students on all of the change. My personal opinion is that this school needs a life skills class. I think we need a class saying here’s how to boil an egg, here’s how to read a loan, what legal rights do I have, etc.

Officer Janio Lee is entering his second year as our school resource officer (SRO). While his main responsibilities are the “safety and security” of the school, Officer Lee cherishes the relationships he forms with students and teachers as well as the opportunity he has as an SRO to represent the McKinney Police Force in a positive way.

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