(TNS) - Sooner Mall and Norman, Okla., first responders will join forces to ensure children are safe.
Safety Town, a free program, is set to start Monday. It is designed to teach pedestrian, bicycle and fire safety to kindergarten-age children to learn the rules of the road.
“These are the things children need to know and think about,” Norman master police officer Thomas Zermeno said.
Zermeno and Sooner Mall spokesperson Lynn Palmerton said Safety Town is reaching multiple generations.
“A lot of the parents who bring their kids attended Safety Town themselves,” Zermeno said. “Last year, we had a third-generation child come through the program.”
Zermeno said there will be six morning, 50-minute classes that will run Monday through Friday during June. There is also an evening class during the first and third weeks of the program.
With its 40th installment starting next week, and more than 400 children expected to attend, the program — started in 1977 by the first Sooner Mall manager and Norman officer Lahoma Nelson — continues to get positive and laughable feedback, Palmerton said.
“It’s been well received. Some of the most fun comments we’ve gotten are from the parents who said the children have become back-seat drivers because of Safety Town,” she said.
Zermeno said Safety Town is another program that helps emphasize how important community-oriented policing is to the Norman Police Department.
“When these children out in the public, they act as ambassadors for us,” he said. “If you teach one, you teach 10.”
The program will take place in the Safety Village in the north parking lot at the mall, 3301 W. Main St.
Palmerton said slots are still available and parents can register their children, ages 5 to 6, for the program at soonermall.com, free of charge. Children must be age 5 by June 1 and cannot turn 7 before July 1 to enroll.
Additionally, Palmerton said a special needs Safety Town class could be hosted this fall.
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