Islip’s Commack Road and Sherwood elementary schools partnered with the Suffolk County Police Department on Jan. 17 for the second annual PTA-sponsored “Being Police SMART: A Pizza Party with the Principals and Police” event, held at Islip Middle School. Sherwood Principal Chad Walerstein and Commack Road Acting Principal Lynn Burke were joined by Suffolk County Police Department Community Relations Bureau Officer Sabrina Pitch and 3rd Precinct Community Liaison Officer Eiffel Ramirez to discuss electronics usage and internet and gaming safety.
After enjoying a family pizza party in the dining room, students and their parents moved into the school auditorium for the presentation portion of the evening. District attendees included Islip’s Superintendent, Dr. Ellen Semel, and the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, Dr. Christopher Smalley, as well as Board of Education Vice President Tom Leggio.
“Basically, online etiquette is our 21st century character education,” said Walerstein in his welcoming introduction. “In the past, we might have taught students about different character traits to represent themselves. Now they have to do those things online.”
Officer Pitch, a familiar face as a countywide school presenter for the past several years, provided parents and children with helpful tips and proactive strategies to keep our students safe. She urged the assembled parents to keep communicating with their children regarding internet usage and devices and discussed the challenge of keeping up with current social media apps and websites frequented by students.
“Every day there’s thousands of new apps out there,” Pitch said. “As soon as you learn about something, they’re on to the next thing.”
Pitch emphasized that any negative or inappropriate words or images that a student says or posts online, even privately, can be disseminated indefinitely and cause significant harm.
“If you wouldn’t say it in person, don’t say it online,” Pitch told the students, leaving them with words of wisdom to guide them in future online endeavors.
Concluding the evening, the Commack and Sherwood PTAs raffled off a pair of Amazon Kindle Fires to two lucky students.
Photo Caption: Suffolk County Police Department 3rd Precinct Community Liaison Officer Eiffel Ramirez, Islip Superintendent Ellen Semel, Islip Assistant Superintendent Christopher Smalley, Suffolk County Police Department Community Relations Bureau Officer Sabrina Pitch, Sherwood Elementary School Principal Chad Walerstein, Islip Board of Education Vice President Tom Leggio and Commack Road Acting Principal Lynn Burke at the second annual “Being Police SMART: A Pizza Party with the Principals and Police” event at Islip Middle School.
Photo courtesy of the Islip School District