KENNETT, MO (KAIT) - A Kennett teacher is working to bridge the gap between some of her students and police officers after they did something alarming.
"When we went to a parade I saw about three of my kids have meltdowns about seeing the cops, the sirens, the lights," said Megan Weaver, a teacher at H. Byron Masterson Elementary. "They were just scared of the police officers."
Weaver said some of them were crying at the homecoming parade, an event that is supposed to be cheerful.
"There was a lot of police there, and me and him were crying," one of Mrs. Weaver's students said. "I hate the sound of police."
After noticing that fear, Weaver knew it was a good time to take matters into her own hands to fix the problem.
"I thought, 'I'll have Al come in and talk to them' to teach them that police officers are there to help," Weaver said.
Alan Campbell, a Kennett police officer, does not want such young children to "hate" the police.
"It's a learned behavior," Campbell said.
Campbell said he wants to help Weaver change those perspectives.
"They think we are going to take them to jail," Campbell said. "We can't take children to jail. I want them to know I'm there to protect them. The only way to change it is one child at a time."
He plans to work closely with Weaver and her students by making sure they understand the police are their friends.
Weaver said since Officer Campbell's visit; she is seeing that gap filling up with trust which was not there just days ago.
"By the end of it, they were all hugging him, and they all wore the police hat," Weaver said. "They put their walkie-talkies on and their badges that they had made and they played cops for a few days after that."
Weaver said some of her students now want to be an officer when the grow up.
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