Shane Tipton was approached by the high school last spring about teaching the first criminal justice class in Glen Rose high school’s history. Along with being the first criminal justice class, this is the first time Tipton has had the opportunity to teach a class as well. He was definitely the obvious choice due to the fact that he has been the high school resource officer for the past eight years, and been with the Sheriff’s Department for the past 17 years. He has also lived in Glen Rose almost his entire life.
His family moved here in 1976, when he was in the second grade. They have remained here ever since. Tipton, his wife, and his brother all graduated from Glen Rose High School, and now his children attend school in Glen Rose. He even has one of his own kids taking his criminal justice class.
Tipton had several family members in law enforcement, and he wanted to serve his community, so it naturally followed that he went into law enforcement himself.
The high school has only had a school resource officer, or SRO, for the past nine years, and Tipton has held that position for eight of those years.
“The students think the SRO is there just to monitor their conduct, but the real purpose is to improve the relationship between the students and the police,” he explained. “Before there was an SRO this relationship was nonexistent. The SRO is also there to improve community policing, and to prevent any serious violent incidents from occurring in the school.”
Tipton said he was approached by the school administration last spring about teaching the criminal justice class. He accepted, then began taking teacher certification classes over the summer. Throughout the school year he must attend class every Tuesday night and every other Saturday. In May 2009, he will receive his standard teacher certification for the state of Texas.
By teaching this class Tipton is fulfilling a promise he made to his mother and family when he graduated high school. He told his mother and the rest of his family that he would one day come back to teach in Glen Rose.
“Teaching in Glen Rose has always been on my ‘bucket list’ of things to do,” he said.
The fact that it was the high school administration who approached him about teaching, without knowledge of his latent desire to teach, made it seem all the more like fate had stepped in.
What’s even more impressive is that Tipton teaches the class for free. He gets paid for being the school resource officer, so he cannot get paid for teaching as well. He said he teaches the course for free as a way of giving back to his hometown.
Along with teaching and his full-time SRO duties, Tipton attends college courses, has a family, and still finds time to teach the D.A.R.E. program at the intermediate school.
The criminal justice course is currently an elective, but it may evolve into a dual-credit class, allowing students under Tipton’s supervision to gain both high school and college credit.