Michigan State Police Trooper Antonio Richardson speaks to Eastpointe Middle School sixth-graders about internet safety Dec. 19 inside the school cafeteria.

Michigan State Police Trooper Antonio Richardson speaks to Eastpointe Middle School sixth-graders about internet safety Dec. 19 inside the school cafeteria.

Photo by Bria Brown

MSP trooper educates Eastpointe students on internet safety

By: Bria Brown | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published January 4, 2018

EASTPOINTE — Eastpointe Middle School sixth-graders learned about internet safety in a three-part presentation by Michigan State Police Trooper Antonio Richardson during the week of Dec. 18. 

The overall theme of the three-part session was “the impact technology has on you.” Specifically, the students had an introductory session with Richardson Dec. 18; they learned about sexually explicit messages and how students could be charged for them Dec. 19; and they were scheduled to learn about cyberbullying Dec. 21, after the Eastsider went to press. 

EMS Principal Stephanie Fleming, who’s been in the district for 16 years, said she believes this is the first presentation of its kind for the middle school. 

“With cellphone use, kids don’t understand the ramifications that their involvement in social media can have, between cyberbullying or inappropriate pictures. We wanted to educate them on what appropriate use is and what respectful use is. I think it’s really important,” said Fleming. 

Fleming said a lot of issues that she’s seen have “stemmed from cellphone use.” 

“I don’t think they always censor themselves, because they don’t understand,” she said. 

Richardson, a recruiter and community service trooper for the Metro North Post, is in charge of the schools in Macomb County, and he speaks on various topics. 

Teaching, Educating and Mentoring, otherwise known as T.E.A.M, is a curriculum that the MSP shares with students. 

While Richardson was teaching the students, he mentioned what he learned from the middle schoolers. 

“There is a need for people to come in and teach them. A lot of them simply didn’t know what I was talking about. It is not wasted. Although they are still young, these are laws and situations they need to be aware of because they are growing up in a society where phones and computers are their lives. That’s what they’re on 24/7,” said Richardson. 

“Sometimes your ignorance can get you in trouble if you don’t know. I wish I had this in high school. Although I didn’t get into that type of trouble, there were a lot of teens who would’ve benefited from knowing that information. Ignorance is not bliss; it can get you in trouble,” said Richardson. 

Fleming said there was a need for the students to be educated on these various topics. 

“Just talking to parents and talking to kids in situations that arise on a daily basis, there was a definite need for it, and when this information came across my desk, we called Trooper Richardson,” said Fleming. 

Fleming also mentioned that she believes the students were receiving the information well. 

“I think it’s opened a lot of their eyes, and I think we’re going to see a shift in how they’re going to communicate with each other, so I would definitely like to continue this,” she said. 

“I would love to have him come back and do these same sessions with the seventh-graders,” she added.