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The Suburbanite
  • Nolley Safety Town teaches children how to stay safe all year long

  • School was in session June 11-15 for a group of about 50 incoming kindergarteners at Nolley Elementary School.


    The 4- and 5-year-old attendees of New Franklin Safety School, put on by the New Franklin Police Department, gave the children a chance to learn about five different areas of safety and a preview of what is in store for them when they start school in the fall.

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  • School was in session June 11-15 for a group of about 50 incoming kindergarteners at Nolley Elementary School.
    The 4- and 5-year-old attendees of New Franklin Safety School, put on by the New Franklin Police Department, gave the children a chance to learn about five different areas of safety and a preview of what is in store for them when they start school in the fall.
    Led by officer Gary Prebynski, the NFPD took over the safety school program when the Summit County Sheriff's Department stepped down from running the program. The plan had been for the sheriff’s department to run the safety school program through this year, but on May 29, the city received a letter informing them it would be their responsibility immediately.
    "They sent us a letter and we found out May 29 that basically, it's up to you," Prebynski said.
    He and six other officers from the department went to work setting up the parameters of the program. They focused on five main areas of safety: bicycle, seatbelt, bus, fire and bullying. All five are relevant to young children, both during the summer ahead and once school starts up in the fall.
    "These are kids going in to kindergarten, so hopefully they haven't had much experience with bullying," Prebynski said.
    Proper bike safety gear and techniques, especially helmets and road awareness, were one focal point, as was making sure to wear a seatbelt every time when riding as a passenger in any vehicle.
    Prebynski, head of the department's Community Policing Program, his fellow officers and Prebynski's wife Jamie put on a five-day program filled with learning and snacks.
    Each day included three hours of learning and fun, safety school students learned about how to stay safe and received cookies and punch to keep them fueled up to learn.
    A highlight of the week was the lesson on bus safety, which gave them the chance to board real school buses and go through the same experience they will have hundreds of times over the course of their school careers.
    “They were definitely excited and enjoyed that one,” Prebynski said. "They really liked being able to get on and off the bus."
    In addition to receiving a preview of their bus ride to school and seeing the inside of the school they will attend this fall, those students who had perfect attendance for the week were entered for a chance to win a new bike purchased by the local Fraternal Order of Police.
    The winners of the bikes were Blake Comisford and Emily Hunter and thanks to safety school, they have all the knowledge they will need for a summer of safe run on their bikes.
    Even though the preparations for the program were more rushed than its organizers wanted, the week was a resounding success and in future years, the New Franklin Police Department will be able to spend plenty of time preparing to pass along all of the important safety lessons an incoming kindergartener will need to stay safe whether playing at home, on their way to school or in class with their friends.