by Lisa Tome
On June 13, Dylan Pierce, 13, died. He drowned after playing on the pier near Rodgers Tavern in Perryville.
Pierce attempted to reach one of the pylons near the end of the pier and fell into the water. One of Pierce's friends saw the teen fall into the water and jumped in attempting to rescue his friend to no avail. On June 14, Pierce's body was recovered.
Julie Brown is doing her best to make sure this doesn't happen again.
Brown, a civilian who works with the Department of Natural Resources Police Department, was teaching water safety at Safetyville for four and five-year-olds last week. "The goal is to teach them water safety - what to do when they're close to the water and how to act appropriately," explained Brown. Her lessons included never going near the water alone and no horseplay on docks. She was also teaching the "reach, throw, and go" strategy and the importance of not endangering yourself when trying to help someone.
"Don't jump in until you learn to swim," said Brown, while teaching a rhyming song. She also modeled various water safety devices and passed out activity books designed to teach young children about boating and water safety.
Water safety is just one of the components of Safetyville which is currently underway at Rising Sun High School. There are 54 children enrolled.
The second session for Safetyville begins on July 10. There's still time to register for the classes, which will be held at Elk Neck Elementary School.
The Safetyville program, for children ages 4-5, is a long standing summer tradition in the county. It is a partnership between the Cecil Sheriff's Office and Cecil County Parks and Recreation in cooperation with the school system.
Safetyville teaches children the role of police in the community, stranger danger, gun safety, bike safety, poisons/household safety, water, electric, and fire safety, as well as pedestrian and motorist safety. Children also learn to dial 911.
You may register at the Cecil Parks and Recreation website.