“When they are engaged and you can have some really thought-provoking conversations with them, it is interesting – it's more at an adult level and I enjoy it.”
Constable Amanda Parsons works with schools in the Porirua and Kapiti Coast areas. This includes visits to primary schools, where she works alongside teachers on walking and cycling safety, and trains and monitors children on school traffic safety teams.
Being a familiar presence for the area's children is paying off as she works more with teenagers in secondary schools on road safety.
“A lot of the students know me from their primary school years,” says Amanda.
One group of students at Aotea College looked ready for a challenge.
“There was a group of students I knew who were quite keen to progress their leadership skills, something the college strongly supported. So I talked to them about what they wanted to do.”
As a result, the group formed a chapter of Students Against Driving Drunk. With Amanda's help during lunchtime meetings, they planned a launch event which drew 400 students.
Amanda made sure her colleagues turned up with the police mobile breath testing station, known as the booze bus, to explain the police response to the problem.
The student group provided factual displays, and ran a quiz. They also screened a video of peers reciting drink driving messages, including from the NZTA Legend campaign.
“It was to get them talking about road safety and how drinking and driving is simply not okay,” says Amanda.
Co-curricular events like this are a positive part of the school culture, and gave the young leaders a meaningful way to enact values and key competencies as described in the New Zealand Curriculum. Standing shoulder to shoulder with them was Constable Amanda.