School Resource Officer Adopts 2 Teenage Students: ‘We Call Ourselves a Herd'
As a school resource officer, Ryan Patton spent years working with students — but for a couple of them, he's now known as "dad."
Patton, 42, officially adopted two of his teenage students this year, changing their lives for the better and giving him a whole new family, according to a release from government officials in Clermont County, Ohio.
Brad was adopted by Patton in February, while Nick officially became part of the family in August.
“We call ourselves a herd,” Patton said in the release.
Patton has served as a school resource officer for the Clermont County Sheriff’s Office for more than a decade, and it was on the job that he first met Brad.
Now a recent high school graduate, Brad was 13 years old when Patton first met him in September 2016, and had been missing from school for two months.
When the teen’s caseworker at Clermont County Children’s Protective Services told Patton they’d finally found him at juvenile court, Patton jokingly responded that he wished he had a foster parent license so he could take Brad under his wing, the release said.
Not long after, he did, as he and child protective services worked out an arrangement for Patton to be Brad’s guardian — an adjustment that certainly took some getting used to for the bachelor.
“I’m 37 or 38 taking on a teenager,” he said in the release. “I had lived alone and was a creature of habit. The first day, I almost burned the house down while making hamburgers and fries.”
With things working out for Patton and Brad, the growing family decided in January 2018 to add Nick, 15, to their brood.
Nick’s foster placement at the time was not working out, and though Patton was weary to take in someone he’d never met, it turns out, he and Nick had crossed paths before — when Patton would go with probation officers to pick him up for not attending school.
“It’s kind of a funny story because I only had a first name and didn’t know if I wanted to take on a stranger,” Patton said in the release. “I asked Brad, who said, ‘Yeah, let’s give it a try.’ Then, it turned out I knew I knew him.”
Since living with Patton and officially being adopted, the boys have thrived; Brad graduated from West Clermont High School in the spring, and recently enlisted in the U.S. Army Infantry, which shipped him out on Sept. 28, the release said.
Nick, meanwhile, is a sophomore at Clermont Northeastern who is enjoying his new driver’s permit and loves to wrestle.
“[Brad’s] graduation was a big thing, considering that he never used to be in school,” the proud dad said. “[And Nick] was one who never went to school. We go to school in my house. He understands that.”
In the release, Patton described his parenting journey as a roller coaster ride, in that some days you want to get off, but overall, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable ride.
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