by Lisa Tome
You need to be patient to be in a conversation with Perryville High School sophomore Erick Derosier and Deputy First Class Stavros Plagianakos.
They have matching speech impediments - stuttering.
"A conversation between us takes forever," laughed DFC Plagianakos.
The deputy is currently serving as the school resource officer at Perryville High School and its feeder elementary and middle schools. He's in his seventh year in the
schools. And is also the golf coach at Perryville High.
"I love it here. My very first DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) class that I taught, now they are seniors. This is my first batch. You get to build relationships. You get to watch them grow. It's pretty neat," said the deputy. "This is a good fit. The community and the kids have embraced me. I work with the best kids. It restores my faith in humanity."
He has formed a particularly close bond with Derosier.
"He was a fourth grader at Bainbridge when I met him. Now he's in tenth grade and I've known him all seven years. He has a stutter and he loves and supports police," said Plagianakos.
Since Plagianakos has a stutter and Derosier has the same issue, the deputy has made it his mission to help Derosier deal with the teasing that sometimes comes his way. "Last year there were two kids in the Modified Instruction Program. They were making fun of me. I heard about it and I told them I wanted to hear them tell me what I sound like. It doesn't bother me. I've been stuttering for 28 years. It doesn't impact me. I teach DARE to 225 kids every year. I do social media and anti drug presentations for parents. They (students) are mostly respectful. This is the kind of school that if people are picking on those with special needs, others would protect them," said Plagianakos. "It's a running joke that if I have to speak, we'll be here forever."
"Erick is part of the special ed. program. We go over strategies (for dealing with stuttering). It feels great for me to help him. Growing up, I was the weird kid with the weird name who couldn't talk right. Now, I'm an ear for Erick," said Plagianakos.
"He is my best friend," said Derosier. "He's there for me when no one else is. If I struggle with a task, he gives me the best assistance. I don't know what I'd do without him. He's been there for me. If I start stuttering, he will remind me to slow down. He's like a big brother to me."
The deputy and Derosier talked about how fast the years have gone by. Derosier said he loves police and will have Plagianakos' back no matter what. Plagianakos said "Erick is not replaceable."
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