Students at Monarch School got a special treat Monday as
part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Junior Special Agent program—a
visit from a high-ranking special agent and a one-of-a-kind poster signed by
FBI Director James Comey.
Comey also wrote the students a letter, commending them for
their work throughout the program to create posters based on the eight core
values of the FBI.
“To thank the students for their hard work, I’m enclosing
one of the new posters listing the FBI core values,” he said in the letter.
The poster and letter were presented to the students by Eric
S. Birnbaum, special agent in charge of the San Diego field office. Birnbaum
told the students about how he first became interested in working for the FBI
as a child who loved detective shows.
“I think there’s opportunities for you with the FBI too,” he
The FBI director learned about the posters through the local
field office, where there were copies displayed in the break room. The students
created two copies of each poster: one to keep at the school and another to
send to the FBI office.
Monarch School is one of the San Diego County Office of
Education's Juvenile Court and Community Schools and serves children in
kindergarten through high school who have been affected by homelessness.
It was the first school in San Diego County to participate
in the Junior Special Agent program, which started with 5th-graders there
last year. As junior special agents, the students get weekly lessons for nearly
three months about different aspects of the FBI, including forensics, evidence
gathering, interviewing, firearm safety, cyber security, and physical fitness. They
also work on skills such as listening, problem solving, and conflict
“It’s all about getting them to make smart decisions all
throughout their lives,” said Cheryl Dorenbush, FBI community outreach
The Junior Special Agents program is especially powerful for
students who may have had negative experiences with law-enforcement officers,
because it gives them a chance to connect with real agents and learn more about
their work, said Kristin Dragomire, whose 5th-grade class is
participating in the program.
“This is such an awesome opportunity to build a relationship
with law enforcement,” she said. “We are very, very fortunate.”