In an effort to establish visibility in the community and improve civic relations, the Ilm Academy invited officers from the local police station to visit the school. The purpose was to introduce them to the school’s presence in the area and to have them give short presentations to the middle school students on some important issues. The team of officers who visited included Captain Kimberly Petersen, Detective Calvin Tang, Traffic Officer Michael Ramsey, Public Affairs Specialist Monica Leon, and Public Affairs Specialist Yanneth Contrada.
The visiting Officers had prepared specific topics for their presentations, all relevant to middle-school/high-school students. These included Social Pressures, specifically safe social media use, Bullying VS Cyberbullying, Pedestrian Safety, specifically texting and media use while walking to and from school, Staying Home Alone, specifically tools & tips for when staying home alone, who are SROs, School Resource Officers on high school campuses, how Investigations work and the differences between detectives and patrol officers.
The officers took questions from the students after each presentation and also invited them to look at the police car and bike of the officers. The youngers grades were also given a quick tour of the police car and bike. The children were immensely excited about it. Creating a close link with the key civic organizations in the locale is important for the school in terms of safety as well as development of cordial relations with other key social institutions.
Talking about the visit, Salman Hasan of 8th Grade says, “Two of the topics that particularly interested me were cyberbullying and home protection. Cyberbullying is a problem that has become frighteningly widespread due to popular use of the internet. I feel like this a major issue which I was happy was addressed during the visit. The other concern I had was home protection. More and more young children are staying at home today, and if criminals knew that only a child was home alone, then they might be tempted to do who knows what, possibly even kidnapping. I felt as if the police really understood life in modern society, and generally was interested in what they had to say.”
On the same note, Aysha Shaghasi, 8th Grade, says, “Safety is a crucial factor of every person’s life and the police officers talked about matters that I think are important for us, such as bullying and cyberbullying. Detective Tang told us that we should inform an adult if anything like this happens to us or somebody else. Monica Leon also talked how to protect ourselves if we are home alone. If a suspicious person approaches the house and tries to get inside, we should call the police department immediately. Officer Ramsey told us that we should follow the rules because each one of the rules are made for our own safety.”
Safety was also a key issue for Hamza Bandarkar, 8th Grade, “The police officers’, especially Captain Petersen’s, main ideas were, in my opinion, road safety and staying home alone. I think the lesson on road safety was really important because many times I walk to parks or friends’ homes. From Officer Ramsey, I learned how to be safe on the road and how being on the sidewalk didn’t necessarily mean I was safe; I still have to be cautious. After the police visit, I figured I have some bad habits to fix!”