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Students learn, police are — literally — ‘here to help them’

Photo from video submitted to Times Observer Pictured during a Warren Area Elementary Center Zoom meeting are (top, from left) Teacher Megan Leach, Colton Ristau, and Aayden Fiscus; (bottom) Ryder Check, Sgt. Jeff Dougherty, and Aide Vicki Faul.

A group of Warren Area Elementary Center students has something to look forward to when school reopens.

Megan Leach’s class talks about community helpers each week during Zoom meetings.

“This week, they discussed community helpers who keep us safe,” Leach said.

They couldn’t get together to meet with their community helper.

So, Sgt. Jeff Dougherty of the City of Warren Police Department joined their virtual meeting.

Dougherty joined the class and discussed how police officers ‘keep us safe’ every day.

He then challenged the students.

If they come back to school able to communicate their personal information clearly — a skill that is very valuable to police — he would throw them a party.

“I challenged the kids in her class to learn to speak their name clearly when asked, their address and birth date,” Dougherty said. “What this will do, if they ever have contact with a police officer, is help us understand who they are and how to help them.”

One of the most important lessons Dougherty passes on to students is “police are here to help them,” he said.

He said he expects the students to pass the challenge and he will probably be providing pizza for them in the fall.

“Our class can’t thank the City of Warren Police Department and Officer Dougherty enough for taking the time to learn with them today,” Leach said.

She said she would also like to express how proud she is of her students who have worked so hard to transition from traditional school to learning at home.

“They are working hard, staying positive, and bringing so much joy,” she said. She looks forward to seeing their smiling faces at the Zoom meetings.

She also thanked her students’ parents for making sure that their students are able to access the meetings, sitting with them and participating , and working so hard to ensure that their student is getting learning experiences every day, she said. “I couldn’t do any of this without my amazing students and their families.”

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