Rutherford County SRO pays for hotel stay, dinner for 1st grade student, grandmother

Rutherford County SRO Sam Trubee
Posted at 10:19 AM, May 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-11 21:07:17-04

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WTVF) — When a Stewartsboro Elementary School first-grader told his guidance counselor that he and his grandmother were homeless and living out of their car, School Resource Officer Sam Trubee went above and beyond the call of duty to pay for dinner and a hotel stay for them overnight.

SRO Trubee first contacted the Department of Children's Services. They were able to assist the child and his grandmother the next day.

It's one student who respresents a much larger statewide, and even nationwide, problem. In Tennessee there are an estimated 11,000 homeless students at any given point. The statistic is based off the 1.1% of kids the state tracks through the student growth metric. However, a spokesperson for TNDOE thinks the number is undereported and therefore much higher.

Deputy Trubee didn't want to receive the credit from this story. However, he realized that it's an opportunity to also give credit to school counselors, teachers and social workers who work with those thousands of students every day.

"We're hoping to guide and help and push even the community step up," Trubee said in an interview Wednesday.

The school system and Trubee give credit to the young boy for having the courage to step forward with concerns for his life.

"It's big for adults to come out and say 'hey, I need help.' So, for a child to understand that 'hey, I need help, I need something that I'm not getting'. That's big," Trubee said.

Trubee only paid for one night at the hotel and one dinner. However, since then, through donations and help from people at the school, the boy and his grandmother have been able to stay in the room.

There's more happening behind the scenes with the school social worker to find a permanent solution. However, they're asking anyone who wishes to help in this case to call Rutherford County School's central office.

Trubee also contacted the Rutherford County School's ATLAS Program that helps care for homeless children's needs.

“I would like to take this opportunity to recognize and acknowledge SRO Trubee for his outstanding dedication and devotion to his school, county and the community in which he serves,” reported SRO Sgt. John Action.

“In keeping with the highest tradition and professionalism of the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office, I write this letter of commendation and acknowledge SRO Sam Trubee for going above and beyond his scope of duty, taking charge of a situation and making a positive influence in the life of a child and grandmother struggling with hard times,” Action wrote.