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Blue Plate Special Invites Police Officers into Wylie ISD Schools


It was as if a celebrity was in the building. As soon as Wylie Police Officer Marcus Barrera walked into the cafeteria, he was getting smiles and high fives.

Officer Barrera enjoyed a free square pizza, corn and chocolate milk thanks to the Blue Plate Special program.

Man gets lunch.

A graduate from Wylie High, it’s been a while since he has had a meal from the school cafeteria. “The food was just as I remembered it,” Officer Barrera said.

Wylie ISD offers a free meal to any uniformed police officer who visits one of its campuses during lunch.

“It’s a way to have police officers who aren’t routinely on school campuses visit our schools,” Wylie ISD Director of Safety and Security Brian Kelly said. “They get to know the students, teachers and staff, and as a bonus, it gets more officers in our schools.”

As he waited in line at R. V. Groves Elementary, the first-grade students had no problem chatting Officer Barrera up.

Kids get lunch.

The last one in line, Officer Barrera waits his turn with students at Groves Elementary.

“I love interacting with the kids,” he said. “It’s so much fun. They want us here.”

Officer Barrera joined his new friend group at their table and said the food was just as he remembered.

“They asked me to sit with them; they even saved me a seat!” Officer Barrera quipped with pride. “The kids were not afraid to talk to me. They immediately engaged with me. I like that we can mold that relationship.”

Officer talks with kids.

Officer Barrera listens to his new friends tell stories at Groves Elementary.

Officer Barrera has been in law enforcement for six years, the last three with Wylie PD. 

“I like to be friendly so the kids know they can talk to us,” Officer Barrera said. “The more we’re in schools, the easier it is for kids to come to us when they have things they need to talk about.”

One more step in increasing school safety and security, the Blue Plate Special program was implemented several years ago to encourage officers, outside of School Resource Officers, to be an additional police presence in the schools.

“Being here gives teachers and the parents a sense of safety knowing officers are around,” Officer Barrera said. “The Blue Plate Special gives us another reason to be in the schools and lets us come in and hang out with the kids.”

Officer eats with kids.

The Blue Plate Special program offers free meals to uniformed police officers during lunch at Wylie ISD campuses.

Wylie ISD welcomes and encourages uniformed police officers to visit its campuses. They can even view each campus' lunch menu to see what’s cookin’.

“If they drop by during lunch time, they can have a meal on us,” Kelly said.

Officer high fives kids.

As students make their way back to class after lunch, Officer Barrera bids them farewell. “One little girl asked if I’d come back tomorrow!”

Though he enjoyed his square pizza, Officer Barrera said his favorite meal when he was in school was the chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes. 

“We used to crush those!”