FAIRBORN — They may be a few years away from getting behind the wheel and taking the streets, but some prospective Fairborn first graders have spent time throughout the month of June learning a variety of means to stay safe.
Safety City aims to teach children how to stay protected around buses, on a bike, near animals, in a vehicle, on sidewalks and across streets, near guns as well as during emergency situations, such as a fire. It is currently taught by Fairborn Intermediate School Teacher Laura Meder with the assistance of School Resource Officers Jim Hern and Nate Penrod. Other Fairborn safety agencies, such as the Fairborn Fire Department, have also had a hand in teaching the upcoming first graders how to be safe.
Safety City students learn a variety of poems and songs, participate in a miniature city, complete crafts, meet safety agency officers face-to-face and observe their equipment up-close.
“We’re trying to be proactive by showing them different situations they could run into in real life,” Meder said. “Sometimes, as parents, you forget to talk to them about [some things, like] animal safety … There’s situations, even as a parent, that you don’t think about your child being in.”
Since it first started in 1967, more than 5,000 children have underwent Safety City. On the last day of the course, they receive a diploma, a package of safety information and t-shirt; Fairborn Police Chief Terry Barlow will deliver the Safety City graduation commencement address.
While Hern appreciates the children learning how to be safe, he also sees Safety City as an opportunity for community outreach. Since starting Safety City this year, he has kept the Fairborn Police SRO Facebook and Twitter pages updated with the course’s regular happenings, resulting in opportunities to get to know the students parents — and the parents seeing an avenue to gain a better understanding of police work. Hern said the pages have received messages from individuals submitting information and asking questions he typically wouldn’t hear on the job.
“We’re teaching the kids these lessons, but sometimes the kids become the teachers. They’ll remind their parents: ‘put your seat belt on’, ‘come to a complete stop.’ We hear stories like that all the time — they come to this class and they want everyone else to be safe,” Hern said. ” … Our job is not to arrest bad guys, our job is to keep everyone safe.”
Whitney Vickers can be reached by calling her directly at 937-502-4532. For more content online, visit our website or like our Facebook page.