SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KTVU) - The video has gone viral -- A touching moment that shows how a Santa Rosa police officer came to the aid of a special needs student with song.
In the video, you can hear school resource officer (SRO) Chris Morrison gently singing the 1979 classic, "The Rainbow Connection" to seventh grader Raquel Zuniga.
The anxious student is seen clutching her Kermit the Frog stuffed animal in the corner of a hallway at Herbert Slater Middle School.
Raquel's teacher Meaghan King told KTVU that the child was having a tough time transitioning to her next class and had backed herself into a corner, refusing to move.
After unsuccessful attempts to get her to go to class, the special education teacher said she decided to give the child some space.
That's when Officer Morrison swopped in.
"Officer Morrison happen to be walking by and without any prompting and not realizing what was happening, we turned around to see her and Raquel, and then she broke out into song," King said.
King and Assistant Principal Jessica Romero watched on and you can hear one of them on the video quietly say, "I'm gonna cry."
It was an emotional moment for the both of them but not one that surprised them.
"She's an amazing individual," King said. "This is what she is. This is her true heart. To her it was not a big deal," she added.
Officer Morrison told KTVU that she was on her way back to her patrol car after responding to an unrelated call at the school, when she noticed the student and teacher in the hallway.
"Her teacher was very patiently helping the student to make the transition of indoors to out," the officer noted. "I can't really say why I started to sing to her, but as I did it seemed it was connecting with her and helping her to relax a little. So, I kept singing."
Morrison said it's probably been 35 years since she last sang the song, but in that moment, all the words came rushing back.
After she stops singing, she then softly says to Raquel, "Kermit sings that song. Did you know that Kermit sings that song?" And in that moment a huge smile takes over the child's face. "That student had a smile on her face that could just melt you," the officer recalled.
A short time later, Raquel did return to class her teacher told us. "It was Officer Morrison's singing that helped crack through her shell."
Morrison's role in the school clearly goes beyond law enforcement duties, according to teacher and staff. She's a familiar face and puts students at ease.
"With my students and especially special ed, having an authority figure, she helps them understand that she is a safe person they can go to and can approach... Being in uniform and seeing her [police] weapon, they can get nervous and it's a lot for them to process," King said, "but her demeanor is really nice and welcoming and helps bridge that gap."
Morrison has been a part of the Santa Rosa Police Department for 18 years. Prior to that she was a teacher in Los Angeles for 12 years, working with at-risk students. So helping young people comes naturally to her, according to school staff and fellow officers.
"This type of thing is very typical of Chris Morrison," said Sgt. Jeneane Kucker, the public information officer for the police department. "She is a kind soul and is wonderful with the kids. Chris goes above and beyond to help, especially a child having a tough time," she added.
And it appears she's quite the musical talent, "She has been known for making songs up here at the department and has a great singing voice!" Kucker noted.
"I believe that music is a common denominator for us all," Morrison said, a technique that proved to benefit a young girl who needed someone to calm her and help her through a challenging moment.
The video highlights the work that school resource officers do in schools, according to Kucker, "It's nice for SROs like Chris to be recognized for the help they provide and the lives they touch. It is a 'humanizing the badge' story that touches the heart."
For Officer Morrison, it was another reminder of why she loves her job. "I am so very fortunate to work for a police department and within schools that value and encourage officers to use whatever techniques they can bring to the table," she said, "even a little song."