FAIRBORN — Fairborn High School met Greene County Safe Communities Coalition’s Seat Belt Challenge with flying colors, as 100 percent of the students were buckled up as the trial commenced — a first for Greene County.
“We’re really proud of the students and school resource officer,” Fairborn City Schools Spokesperson Pam Gayheart said. “It’s amazing.”
Throughout the week leading up to each participating high school’s spring break, students were informed of the dangers of driving unbelted and were encouraged to buckle up, according to a release by Greene County Public Health. The high schools were checked on an unannounced basis during that same time period and the school with the highest percentage of buckled drivers as they pulled away from campus were declared the winners.
Bellbrook High School followed in second place with 93.92 percent and Beavercreek High School finished third with 93.44 percent of buckled drivers.
“We … promote traffic safety in Greene County and it’s important to start with youth and help them know how important it is to wear their seat belt and drive safely,” said Jillian Bothwell of Greene County Public Health. “This is the first year we’ve ever had a school with 100 percent, so it’s really exciting. When I was out observing each school, it was nice to see how excited the students were. They were really into it and it was nice to see them enjoying participating.”
As a result of winning the challenge, Fairborn High School received a $250 check with funds donated from Lt. Douglas Eck of the Ohio State Highway Patrol Xenia Post, James Preston of the Safe Communities Coalition and the Greene County Law Enforcement Association. Some local Fairborn businesses are involved in encouraging safe driving as well by donating gift cards and coupons as a means of offering incentives to buckled students, which are given away at random all year by School Resource Officer Jim Hern and Physical Education Teacher Jacob Dysinger.
“The Fairborn students really made me proud during this,” Hern said. “They took it to heart, they understand the meaning of it and they really wanted to win the challenge not only for the sake of winning it, but for the safety of the other students. These kids really care about each other, they pitch it and make sure everybody is doing the right thing — and 100 percent, it has never been done before.”
Hern and Dysinger keep an eye on the students as they are dismissed each day to ensure that they are buckled up. The pair expressed pride in seeing Fairborn High School come out on top of the competition, and Hern hopes to see the up-and-coming generation instill seat belt-wearing as part of their regular routine.
“Seat belts save lives,” Hern said. “If we can get the kids to start wearing their seat belts when they’re young, it becomes a culture where everyone wears their seat belts and it’s going to save lives and make a big impact on our community.”