Emergency Services contacted the school and reported that a number of kindergarten students had called 911 the previous afternoon. The teachers had done a home safety presentation and, apparently, when some of the students arrived home they were curious. We were asked to do a follow-up with the kids and to emphasize that 911 was to be called ONLY in a real emergency.
The teachers readily did the follow-up. By coincidence, two police officers dropped in the school that afternoon. They were on patrol and knew that they had a standing invitation to stop by when in the area (I liked the idea of have having police in the building when things were right, not just when things were wrong). I explained about the 911 calls and asked if they wouldn’t mind speaking to the children.
It was nearing the end of the day and the kindergarten students were on the playground awaiting bus departure. The duty teacher rang the hand-bell to summon the children and they quickly formed their lines. I introduced the two officers. One of them stepped forward and talked about the seriousness of dialing 911.
When I figured the point had been made and enough had been said, the officer added the following:
“Now, everyone raise your right hand and repeat after me.”
The children raised they right hands; actually, a few had their left hands up. Staring up at the uniformed officer they repeated each word.
“I promise …..
“to only dial ….
“If I or someone I know …
“is hurt or in danger …..
‘or if the bad guys are comin’.”
He didn’t define bad guys but apparently our efforts worked. The 911 calls stopped.
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