by Lisa Tome
If you want to know how children really feel about the police, ask a third grader.
"Thank you for everything you do. Like help us get home when we are lost or help when strangers are near. Also you give out speeding tickets so no one gets in accidents..." Those words come from Katelyn, a Calvert Elementary student. Within the last few weeks, the third and fifth graders at the school have learned about the role of police officers. They have also written letters to state troopers, sheriff's deputies, and municipal officers thanking them for their service.
The idea of supporting police came from Calvert's Occupational Therapist Teresa Flaugher. Flaugher is the wife of a retired state trooper and the mother of a current trooper. She brought the idea of supporting police to principal Elsie Harrigan who approved the idea. Flaugher said she piggybacked the idea after Spready Oak Cafe and the Town of Rising Sun both made gestures supporting law enforcement.
"This is a great opportunity for students to express gratitude," said Flaugher.
Guidance Counselor Diane Little went into the classrooms and taught lessons about what officers do, and respect and trust for police. "The kids were receptive and excited. They are always excited to do activities where they see themselves providing support," said Little.
Students then wrote letters of appreciation and colored pictures for police. Little said that many students at the school already have a connection with officers. Others told stories about their interaction with police.
Many of the students know Cpl. Todd Creek, the school's resource deputy. They also know the deputy who was formerly assigned to the school, now Sheriff Scott Adams. Fifth grader Anna Birney remembers a time when she was little and an officer helped her family. The car Birney was riding in ran out of gas so an officer drove the family home.
Flaugher delivered the letters and drawings to the various police agencies on Friday. Some of the children opted to deliver their messages to officers themselves if the officer is a family member or neighbor.