School Resource Officer Doug Maifeld poses in December with Mountain Valley High School seniors Anthony Mazza and Sophie Ladd. Both Rumford students had him as instructor for the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program in elementary school. Submitted photo

RUMFORD — School Resource Officer Doug Maifeld retired from his 32-year career with the Rumford Police Department in January 2020 and began a new career the next day.

The job of part-time school resource officer for Mountain Valley High and Rumford Elementary schools, both in Rumford, and Mountain Valley Middle and Meroby Elementary schools, both in Mexico, eventually became full time.

He patrols the grounds to assure students are safe and handles complaints of vehicles passing buses. In the schools he walks the halls greeting students and staff, and checking doors. He also takes complaints of harassment, threats and assaults, and suspected drug use.

Students can come to his office at the high school to talk with him and vent their feelings and frustrations, as long as they do it respectfully, he said.

Another part of Maifeld’s job is making home visits to families of students who are truant or failing to connect with classes while learning from home because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’ve probably done close to 150 home visits since the beginning of the school year for all four schools,” he said. “The biggest thing that I can say is that there is a lack of communication between students, parents, and schools sometimes.”

A lot of students don’t realize that they still have to check in, he said. “Just because they are fully remote, they still have to get online at some point and check in and do their work.”

Based on what he’s seen and experienced, Maifeld said he feels problems have cropped up because parents have given their children the choice of whether to attend school virtually or in-person.

“And when we call and intervene, he said, some parents say, “‘Well I can’t get the kids to do anything (and) he doesn’t want to come to school.’ It shouldn’t be that way.”

“I understand if the parents have concerns and they just don’t want to take the risks because of health concerns or something like that, but I think too many of them are leaving it up to the kids, and part of the problem with some of these that are doing hybrid or fully remote is the parents aren’t checking up, and (that’s) been a lot what I’ve seen through my home visits.

“The biggest thing for me is just the parents being more involved,” he said. “They need to log on and see what their kids are doing and take back control, I guess that’s the way I can say it. They are leaving too much of it the kids’ choice, and it shouldn’t be the kids’ choice.”

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