“I know that, because of what I do, these young people are going to make better choices as road users.”
Constable Andy Napier says he feels protective of the secondary students he works with in the Franklin area south of Auckland.
He spends time with teenagers in the classroom, helping them figure out how to be responsible on the roads.
He keeps up with news in the area, hoping no-one he knows gets involved in an accident. Equally, he stays on after a lesson finishes as often there is a student lingering, waiting to express concerns about an issue in their own lives.
“We need to make sure we are there for young people – I have all sorts of important things revealed to me,”says Andy.
He says Police have effective education programmes for secondary schools to include in health classes and other curriculum areas. A msg in contxt is a unit that gets students thinking about crash risk factors, including texting while driving.
Andy says teenagers soon see the relevance to their own lives.
“They give their own examples. One girl said she was riding her bicycle with her iPod on and wanted to change play lists. She rode straight into a stack of boxes. She could certainly relate to that idea of being distracted.”
He also works with teachers on Changing Gear, a flexible programme with activities in six curriculum learning areas for year 9–10 students.
“It’s teaching kids to be safe road users rather than just drivers, because it’s about cycling and walking as well.”