Posted: Monday, September 30th 2013 at 2:14pm
Helmet initiative designed to keep students safer in storms
By Dean Dyer Staff
Students at Jack P. Nix Primary School in Cleveland had the opportunity to don safety helmets for the first time during Monday morning's storm drill. (Photo/Dean Dyer)
CLEVELAND - A few months ago, Cleveland Police Chief John Foster started a unique program to raise funds to provide all students within the White County school district with storm helmets for use during storms.
This morning, as part of a safety drill at Jack P. Nix Primary School in Cleveland, those new helmets were put to use.
Foster explained how the idea got started.
"We had all the bad storms in Oklahoma and it got me to thinking, what do we need to do to protect our school kids," Foster said. "We provide them with bicycle helmets for bicycle rodeos at minimal cost like $5 a helmet, and I didn’t see why we couldn’t provided these helmets for the school kids."
After coming up with the idea, Foster began seeking donors to help bring the bicycle helmets to each classroom for use during storm drills and severe weather.
"We have provided all children from pre-k through fifth grade with a bicycle helmet that will be worn during all storm drills,” Foster said.
Foster said this will be an ongoing project in the schools.
"Now we have a bases in place, from year to year the helmets will go from one child to the next child and we will have replacement cost, which will be minimal," said Foster.
He said they want to expand the program to the other grades, but first he said they need to put reflective tape on these helmets so they can be found in the dark, should that situation occur.
Foster had special thanks to the major contributors to the project: Jacky Jones Ford and Griffin Drug and Griffin Towing Service.
School and safety officials praised the students for a good job in using the helmets as part of the drill.
White County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jeff Wilson said system officials are glad to have the added safety feature for the children.
"Anything we can do - safety is first and foremost - we feel a huge responsibility when we take a child from the parents' home and put them in one of our school buildings to make sure above and beyond they are safe.”
White County Public Safety Director David Murphy said they would like to see this program go statewide.
"We have been communicating with the state school safety officers and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency director about this program, and they are all supportive of that, and we do hope it goes as a statewide initiative," Murphy said.
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