Wrapping up the spring pen pal relationships between McCall Elementary School first-graders and police officers brought online friends face-to-face for the first time. Representatives from area police departments have engaged with the youngsters throughout the semester to help improve the students’ writing skills, and also let them learn more about the daily lives for those who protect and serve our communities.
First-graders enjoyed getting to know more about what a policeman’s job entails, but also about their families, pets, speeding tickets and more. A visit to the Fort Worth Training Center was a highlight this spring, with the bagpipers, the canine unit and the police helicopter getting the most nods.
Officer Brian McClenny is with the Fort Worth Police Department’s Clergy and Police Alliance. He said he felt it was important for the police to reach out to kids and let them know policemen and women are there to help those in need. FWPD Officer Maggie Skelton said the experience “will let children know they don’t need to be afraid to approach us where there is trouble. Some kids think we’re only here to catch ‘bad guys,’ but we really want them to see us in a good perspective.”
Another officer, Todd Wadlington, said he enjoyed the thought processes that were revealed in the online exchange. “These children are really advanced with technology, and it was a very good interaction,” he said.
Finally, the youngsters collected teddy bears to give to the police officers, who will donate them to children in local hospitals.
A grant from the Aledo Education Foundation helped make this exercise possible.