By Whitney Vickers
FAIRBORN — Fairborn High School has won the Greene County Safe Communities Coalition’s Seat Belt Challenge — again.
“Last spring, we had 100 percent of our students wearing their seat belts, which has never been done, and we’ve repeated it again this fall,” said Jacob Dysinger, health and physical education teacher at FHS. “We’re really proud of our students for wearing their seat belts. One of the main causes of teenage deaths is accidents, so anytime we can be an advocate to get students to do healthy things, so it can continue for the rest of their life, we always push that.”
The Greene County Safe Communities Coalition provided information to each high school in the area regarding the importance of buckling up just as students were gearing up for fall and spring breaks. As students were dismissed for the day during that time period, the Greene County Safe Communities Coalition conducted unannounced checkups on the students, counting the amount of students who were buckled up as they drove off school property.
Dysinger said FHS officials advocated for passengers to be wearing seat belts as well.
“Everything about this challenge is about safety for the kids,” Fairborn Police Department School Resource Officer James Hern said. “I tell these kids everyday that my number one job is to keep them safe. Whether I’m talking to a kindergartner or high school student, my job is the same — keep people safe.”
As a result, the school has received a total of $2,000 in grant money, which will fund upgraded safety features in the facility, such as security cameras. Hern does not predict that the grant money will cover the total cost of such an upgrade, but hopes the school is able to find means that would match the funds.
The current senior class was praised for winning the challenge, as officials said they are setting an example of implementing safe habits for younger classes and generations to follow. Hern emphasized that if drivers begin safe habits when they first start taking on the roads, there is a greater chance that they will influence future generations to implement the same routines.
“We have a great senior class that leads by example and they make up the most of our drivers at our school, so we wanted to recognize them for doing a great job,” Dysinger said. “They lead the example for the future classes coming up and set the standard for the future.”
Social media ensured that a great amount of students were aware of the challenge. Hern maintains school resource officer Facebook and Twitter pages, highlighting that Facebook allows him to reach parents, while Twitter provides an avenue for him to reach students.
“One of my [roles] in this position is social media,” Hern said. “I reach out to kids, especially on Twitter, and build a rapport with them. They approach me in the hallways, even though they’ve never officially talked to me, like they already know me because I talk to them through social media. It’s opened a lot of doors I think would otherwise be closed.”
Reach Whitney Vickers at 937-502-4532.