FAIRBORN — Fairborn High School students have gotten into the habit of buckling up every time they get behind the wheel and have proven so by winning the Greene County Safe Communities Coalition Seat Belt Challenge with 100 percent of its student drivers buckled for the sixth time in a row.
“It’s all about safety … it’s proven that when you wear a seat belt, you’re more likely to survive a crash,” School Resource Officer Jim Hern said. “Our main goal is to keep the kids safe and healthy and [keep them] in school.”
Hern, alongside Physical Education Teacher Jake Dysinger, watch student drivers pull away from the grounds every day after the final bell rings. They highlighted that the habit is so embedded into their routines that some will even pull the belt away from their chest to show them that it is fastened.
Both added that they ensure that all passengers in the vehicles are buckled as well. If a passenger is not buckled, the driver is held accountable. Hern said according to the law, drivers can be cited if their passengers aren’t buckled.
“We put in the time to make sure they’re wearing their seat belts,” Hern said. “They know we’re going to stop them if not.”
Hern highlighted that Greenview High School followed closely behind them this round of the Seat Belt Challenge and recognized that other schools are gunning after Fairborn High School’s success.
However, he emphasized that having more Greene County students buckled is a good thing.
“We’re leading by example,” Hern said. “We’re raising the bar everywhere.”
The school once chose not to participate in the challenge in a previous round to allow another school the opportunity to win. However, Hern said the students were still 100 percent buckled during that period of time.
“The good habits are being passed down to younger drivers,” Dysinger said. “When kids wear seat belts, they turn into adults who wear seat belts.”
Hern and Dysinger previously offered incentives to buckled drivers, such as gift cards to local restaurants. However, Dysinger said they have done away with rewarding buckling up and that the students are “used to it now.”
“We’re really active in the schools and the students know that we care,” Hern said. “They know they will be talked to and don’t want to disappoint us.”