Approximately 900 students were on the field at Washington Middle School last week to get a lesson on bike safety from a group of BMX professionals, Team Soil, and members of the La Habra Police Department.
The event was spearheaded by LHPD School Resource Officer Jason Sanchez and Washington Middle School’s principal, Mario Carlos. Members of the police department’s Bike Patrol were also on hand, as well as several motor officers from the Traffic Unit.
“The kids were so excited,” said traffic Sgt. Jim Tigner. “It was like a concert. They were going nuts for these cyclists. They are really cool guys that the kids look up to, but they always bring their presentation back to bicycle safety.”
Tigner said the event, held Wednesday Nov. 12, was a great collaboration between the school district, the police department, the community, and local retailers. He said safety presentations such as these fulfill an objective related to the current Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) grant that the police department received earlier this year.
Some of the students who attended the event even received bicycle helmets and T-shirts, while others learned how to repair flat tires.
To further promote the importance of bicycle safety, following the presentation, students were asked to compose an essay on bike safety. Three lucky students, one from sixth, seventh and eighth grade, will win a bicycle from La Habra Cyclery for writing the best one-page essay on the topic.
While there will only be three winners from the essay contest, all the kids who attended the event can go to the La Habra Cyclery’s website to get a 10-percent discount.
“Our hope is that we will do more of these assemblies,” said Sanchez, the school resource officer for Washington and Imperial middle schools. “A good percentage of our students at Washington ride their bikes to school. These events incorporate safety and positive learning.”
Sanchez hopes to hold a similar event at Imperial soon.
Sanchez, who got the school resource officer assignment in May, talked about how important it is to show officers in a good light to young people.
“We don’t want to be seen as just going out and handing out a bunch of tickets,” he said. “We’d rather have an educational message. The bike safety program was a great scene. It’s awesome to see how important my job really is. It’s another side of police work.”