There’s something special when grandma talks about peer pressure. Maybe it’s her loving tone, or the little wink she gives when she promises not to tell your mom about that crush you have. Or maybe it’s because she claims she went through the same pressures — only you don’t really believe she was ever a kid.
Even if they don’t have grandparents of their own nearby, Galt Joint Union Elementary School District students will have a grandmother on campus through the new “Grandma Cop” program.
The Galt Police Department has some new cops on the beat this school year, but instead of spending time on the beat on the streets, they will be in the schools helping elementary school children become more familiar with safety programs designed to help keep them safe.
These police volunteers will be teaching valuable lessons to students from preschool to fifth grade about stranger danger and common lures, being safe when home alone, gun safety, emergency skills, outside safety skills and dealing with peer pressure over drugs and alcohol.
“Our Grandma Cops have been a tremendous and lovely addition to the start of school,” Greer Elementary School Principal Emily Peckham said in an email message Saturday. “It’s amazing how smoothly the morning drop off and afternoon pick up routines have gone. It’s wonderful to have extra eyes and ears out there with a focus on keeping students safe. In addition, our children are positively responding to the acknowledgement and encouragement the Grandma Cops provide to each child. Our families are pleased, as well. Many personally know the Grandma Cops!”
Last spring, as the Galt Police Department was helping the district with safety training procedures such as gun safety for teachers, Community Services Officer Lynn Hutchinson Community and Lt. Brian Vizzusi shared the idea with Galt elementary Superintendent Karen Schauer.
“Given our district’s efforts to personalize learning and community-based partnerships, this program sounded like a perfect fit our district,” Schauer said. “We decided to start the program at Greer and grow it with time.”
Peckham and Jennifer Collier, the district’s extended learning supervisor, have worked with the Police Department to launch the program. The three grandmas greeted Greer Elementary students and their parents on the first day back to school Monday.
“Lynn Hutchinson, from GPD, and I are working to create a schedule that will allow Grandma Cops to visit each classroom throughout the year and present safety lessons to students,” Peckham said. “They may also spend time out on the playground or in our Bright Futures Learning Center. This wonderful mentoring program will add much to a child’s sense of safety, confidence in themselves, and increased engagement in school.”
Schauer said the district hopes to offer the program at all of the district’s elementary schools soon.
“(Friday) morning, as I drove to the district office and past Greer Elementary School, I saw a Galt Police Grandma Cop welcoming students to the school with a warm smile and wearing her Grandma Cop uniform,” Schauer said. “It’s a safe and nurturing way for our children to start their school day.”
Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.