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Children appreciate emergency personnel

Primary school children showed their support for emergency personnel by presenting flags they made from paper chains to Fire District 3, the Sheriff’s Department and Langley Police Department. Hoisting the Fire District 3 flag are kindergarten teacher Valerie Brown and Clinton Station Capt. Kenon Simmons. - Jim Larsen
Primary school children showed their support for emergency personnel by presenting flags they made from paper chains to Fire District 3, the Sheriff’s Department and Langley Police Department. Hoisting the Fire District 3 flag are kindergarten teacher Valerie Brown and Clinton Station Capt. Kenon Simmons.
— image credit: Jim Larsen

South Whidbey’s youngest residents honored some its most important in a presentation Tuesday at South Whidbey Primary School.

The school is daytime home to children in kindergarten, first and second grades. They combined their efforts to create large, colorful American flags out of paper chains, and then presented those flags to Island County Sheriff Mike Hawley, Fire District 3 Lt. Jerry Beck, and Langley Police Chief Bob Herzberg.

This is National Fire Prevention Week, which is annually used as a time for safety education in South Whidbey schools. But this year feelings went beyond the usual, due to the Sept. 11 terrorism attacks.

Jan McNeely, primary school teacher and emergency services coordinator, said the staff and students decided this would be a good time to honor firefighters and law enforcement personnel, so they came up with the paper flag idea.

McNeely said even the youngest children are aware of the terrorism attacks, but they don’t dwell on it. She commended parents for not overexposing their kids to the news.

Are the children worried about the present world situation?

“To an extent,” McNeely said. “But we did a really good job of assuring them they are safe at school.”

School counselor Leann Chrisman said that immediately after the attacks, teachers met to discuss how to talk to the children about it. “The teachers have done a marvelous job getting the kids to talk,” she said.

“The kids were really upset at first,” Chrisman added. “For many of them it was the first time they saw their parents cry.”

Community Events, April 2014

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