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Safety lessons start at school
Groups visits help lay groundwork for an injury-free summer
Gainesville Police Department Officer Melissa Begley speaks to students at a safety fair Friday at Fair Street International Baccalaureate World School. The students were taught seat belt and bike helmet safety by Officer Begley. - photo by PEGGY ATTAWAY

With school about to wrap up for the year, more students will be spending more time at home.

So, there’s no time like the present to teach them about safety.

In honor of national Safe Kids Week, representatives from the Safe Kids of Gainesville-Hall County organized special safety assemblies for students at two area elementary schools. Each year, the group rotates special safety days between one city and one county elementary school.

"We do a lot of injury prevention programs," said Kim Martin, Safe Kids of Gainesville-Hall County program coordinator.

"We target second- and third-graders because that is the age when children start becoming more aware of their environment."

This year, the students at Chestnut Mountain Elementary and Fair Street International Baccalaureate World School were treated to a day filled with safety lessons.

Local public safety officials from the Gainesville police and fire departments and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources taught the students about poison control, seat belt use and fire and water safety.

"I learned that poison can hurt you," said Erin Rassel, a Fair Street second-grader. "And that you should tell an adult as soon as you see someone messing with it."

The day wasn’t all work, lessons were filled with fun activities.

"The students did a 911 relay with the fire department, where they learned how to change the batteries in a smoke detector," said Kim Davis, Fair Street assistant principal.

During the day, students rotated between different safety stations. At the end of the day, they all met for an assembly and review of the safety tips they learned. At the end of the assembly, a girl’s name and boy’s name were drawn to each receive a new bicycle and helmet.

Fun and excitement aside, students learned how to stay safe.

"I learned a lot," said Sergio Orona, a Fair Street third-grader.

"I’m gonna go home and teach it to my (siblings)."

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