|Framingham police get a read on McCarthy School||March 1, 2019|
|Zane Razzaq 508-626-3919||Metrowest Daily News|
A new program called "Officer Read Aloud!" had its first session Friday morning. As part of the program, members of the Framingham Police Department read aloud to second-grade classrooms at McCarthy Elementary School.
Before visiting with second-graders, Framingham Detective Jay Ball looks over the book he was going to read, "A Penguin Pup For Pinkerton." Members of the Framingham Police Deptartment visited the McCarthy Elementary School Friday to participate in the "Officer Read Aloud" program. Each officer read to a different second-grade class.
FRAMINGHAM - McCarthy Elementary School was the site of heavy police activity Friday morning.
In full uniform, five members of the Framingham Police Department descended on the Flagg Drive school, armed with a stockpile of books with titles such as "A Penguin Pup For Pinkerton," "Gregory the Terrible Eater" and "Make A Wish, Honey Bear."
"Officer Read Aloud!", a new program that sees Framingham police officers reading aloud to second-graders at McCarthy, launched Friday. Every two weeks, officers will visit and read a book that was special to them as a child or one they have enjoyed reading to their own children.
"It's an opportunity to build relationships," said Deputy Chief Lester Baker. "This is the perfect age."
After her son James was recently sworn in as a Framingham officer, second-grade teacher Nancy Golden said she wanted to do something to combat "negative publicity" surrounding police, saying she wanted kids to become more comfortable around officers. When she approached the department to ask if officers could visit schools, she was referred to Baker, who was already working on a way to get more officers into classrooms.
"It just fit," said Golden. "It came together so perfectly."
Police Chief Steven Trask sat in front of a gaggle of wide-eyed second-graders seated on the floor of their classroom, finishing up "Sherman Crunchley" by Laura Numeroff. The story follows Sherman, a dog, who is expected to follow his father as Biscuit City's Police Chief but the only thing he likes about being a police officer is wearing a hat.
"What do you think Sherman is going to do?" Trask asked the children, flipping a page. "Sherman opens up, 'Sherman's House of Hats.' That's what he liked most of all, making hats. It's about finding something that you like to do. Do what you want to do, what makes you happy."
As Baker finished his session with students, he said he hoped they would get to know many officers through the program.
"I don't want you to be nervous when you see police officers. I want you to know their names," Baker told students.
Afterward, kids asked the officers questions, ranging from "Do you get paid to be a police officer?" and "What if you catch a bad guy, but all the cells are full?"
Principal Cynthia Page said there are many benefits to reading aloud to children, including helping them learn new words, build confidence and see reading as fun. But the most exciting part of the program is the relationship-building, said Page.
"It's a wonderful way to bridge the gap between the officers and our students," she said.
Seven officers: Their average salaries exceed $100,000 each.
Three deputy police chiefs
How about an Officer Read Aloud class to latino and black high schoolers?
The Framingham police should be on the lookout for classes on the U.S.Constitution . As expected, they skipped this one.
Still gainfully employed by FPD
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