KANSAS CITY, KS.- Since the coronavirus threat started crossing our country, we have seen countless stories where police and fire officials have acted outside the box to help make things a little better for everyone, some of which we have chronicled here on Law Enforcement Today.
However, when police do something which does not show the profession in a positive light, we highlight that as well. Case in point: The Kansas City (KS) Police Department.
According to Fox 4, on April 4 elementary school teachers and administrators gathered to engage in a parade for the benefit of the school children. The staff from John Fiske Elementary School got together at 11 a.m. for what was called the “Lion Pride Parade 2020.”
The published parade route showed the various neighborhoods the parade was scheduled to go through.
Enter the buzzkill. The police arrived and told the teachers that the parade was a violation of governor’s orders and would have to be canceled.
Sharita Hutton who is with the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools said that the goal of the parade was to get students excited for distance learning, scheduled to begin in the district an April 6. She said in an email that the idea was put forth to show the students their teachers care about them, and also demonstrate social distancing.
Nancy Chartrand is the public information officer with the KCPD. She noted that officers were following state-mandated orders:
“The governor’s order is the governor’s order,” Chartrand said. “Only necessary, essential. That’s what they’re supposed to be out for.”
Chartrand said that nobody was arrested, nor ticketed.
“While the district was not notified of the schools plan for the event, we know that John Fiske teachers and administration had their hearts in the right place,” Hutton wrote in an email.
“With that said, we understand that during these times, Wyandotte County has rules in place to protect the citizens and that is why we support their decision to stop today’s parade.”
On the school’s Facebook page, school leaders wrote, “It breaks our hearts but we got to see a lot of you, regardless,” they wrote. “Families, sorry to inform you that the parade was abruptly ended by local authorities because we are not essential.”
Let’s take a ride to the northeast to Granite City, IL. Last week, according to RiverBender.com, 80 teachers from all levels of the district, along with a board of education member, led a parade through the city streets to let the students and the residents know that they were being thought of and appreciated.
Two third-grade teachers came up with the idea. Jamie Mihu and Courtney Brooks, and retired police officer Jenna De Yong saw a Facebook posting of a similar event in Missouri, which gave them the idea to do something similar.
“The three of us saw a post on Facebook from Wentzville,” Mihu said, “and we started joking amongst ourselves about we would do it if it got us out of the house. After that, we formed a Facebook group of Granite City teachers to see how the interest would be.”
Mihu ran the idea by school Superintendent Jim Greenwald, who was on board with the idea. “He gave us his absolute blessing,” Mihu said.
“I received a call a few days ago from Jamie, and asked me if I would allow them to form the parade,” Greenwald said. “I said yes, and please keep me informed. I then called the TV stations, hoping to get positive coverage, which we did. It was a tremendous act of kindness by the teachers.”
The teachers also ran the idea by the police chief, Ken Rozell, who gave the go ahead to the proposal, and even had school resource officers lead the way.
Well done Chief!
The event was overwhelmingly successful. Everyone involved agreed that it was a resounding success, with students and their families showing approval as the teachers drove along the route.
“It’s an extension of expressing their gratitude towards the children, and to let them know that they were thinking of them,” Greenwald said. “It was a great community event. I have received tons of positive phone calls and feedback.”
Not to be outdone, OPB.org in Oregon reported that teachers in Beaverton, Oregon held a parade for their students. As students gathered in front of an apartment complex, one of the students, a 4th grader, Marielle held a whiteboard that said, “Hello teachers.”
“I miss school,” Marielle said.
Teachers put signs on their cars, and beeped their horns as they drove by students and their families, with students and parents waving as the teachers passed.
In Enfield, CT., teachers from the Prudence Crandall Elementary School took to the streets of Enfield last week to show their students they were thinking of them.
The Enfield Patch reported that a 4th grade teacher at Crandall, Kelsey McGuire Bruce and a 5th grade teacher Julie Nuzzo organized the parade which consisted of teachers, staff members, paraprofessionals, lunch aides and custodians. The parade was led by an Enfield police officer, and went through every neighborhood in northern Enfield. Kudos to Chief Fox of the EPD for supporting this wonderful outreach.
Bruce said some people were brought to tears by the outreach. “Some of the kids had signs, and there were families on pretty much every street we went down. We’ve already received messages from a lot of people saying they were brought to tears by it.”
Most of the teachers’ vehicles were decorated, with many containing messages for their students.
“The Crandall family always comes together, and this is one way we could do that during this challenging time,” Bruce said.
These are but three examples of towns that were the anti-Kansas City. Social distancing and such are great ideas, but has anyone thought of the impact this whole borderline national shutdown is having on kids?
Look, it is quite obvious this is something that needs to be taken seriously, but honestly what does it hurt for teachers to DRIVE by their students and let them know they are not forgotten. Sadly, for some kids school IS their family.
Sometimes, a bit of common sense should trump government overreach.
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