Officer A.T. Griffiths, school resource officer at Page High School, thought too many thefts were occurring on his beat. He wanted the students and faculty to see what he saw. He wanted the thefts to stop.
Griffiths, or “OG” as he is called by the students, made it his mission to publicize the Campus Crime Stoppers text-a-tip program throughout the school. He started by airing a still image of the Campus Crime Stoppers logo on the school’s closed circuit television.
That was not’t good enough for Tom Osswald, career technical education teacher at the high school. Osswald, who teaches multimedia design, saw an opportunity for a great learning experience for his students.
“Our students have a right to feel safe at school and not have things stolen,” said Osswald. “I saw promoting text-a-tip as a way to get things rolling.”
Osswald assigned his students the project of designing Campus Crime Stoppers promotional items for the Web, print materials, and television. He invited the Greensboro Police Department’s Crime Stoppers Coordinator Becky Fallon to speak with his students about the anonymous crime tip program that offers cash rewards for information that leads to an arrest or indictment.
“They learned that it’s okay to do the ‘right thing’ by providing information on a crime or criminal activity without fear of retribution or being labeled a snitch,” Fallon said.
“And then, the kids just wanted to get the word out,” said Osswald. The students used their skills in graphic arts, layout, and design to create eye-catching posters, handouts, and video graphics to raise awareness about Crime Stoppers.
But that was not’t enough. Some students wanted to do more to make their school safer. They considered everything they learned about the Crime Stoppers program and came up with a plan: they would form an organization to leverage the benefits of the program. They named it ‘Page Campus Watch.’
“Page Campus Watch's purpose is to provide a safe and effective avenue for dealing with any theft, crime, etc,” said John Peele, a senior and the lead spokesperson of Page Crime Stoppers/Page Campus Watch club. “We, at Page, are simply raising awareness of Crime Stoppers through our Page Campus Watch program to prevent, deter, and resolve crime on campus.”
“The goal will be to effectively reduce or prevent crime, while providing an effective way of reporting tips so something can be done about it,” Peele said.
Page Campus Watch, which currently consists of approximately 20 high school students, will formally launch the program December 18. Club members will set up a booth outside the lunchroom between 11:50 am and 1:55 pm. In addition to displaying their Page Campus Watch promotional materials, the students will distribute surveys to find out about their peers’ perception of crime and willingness to report illegal behavior.
Completed surveys will be given to the math department for students to tabulate and analyze the results.
“This project has been such a great learning experience,” said Osswald. “It has touched so many curriculums – multimedia design, math, marketing, civic awareness. And, more importantly, it has sparked discussion about doing the right thing.”
This program has also caught the attention of the principal of Page High School, Patrice Faison. “We are so proud of our students for taking the initiative to make our campus as safe as possible,” said Faison. “Their energy and leadership is a powerful example of character development in action.”
According to Fallon, the Page Campus Watch is the first of its kind in the state. “What I love the best about these kids is their enthusiasm and persistence,” he said.
“We aim to act as a model for other schools looking to start a Campus Watch Program of the same nature,” said Peele.
“The level of involvement from these students is unprecedented,” said Griffiths. “It’s refreshing to see young people getting involved to improve the safety of their school. Their passion is inspiring.”
Founding members of Page Campus Watch (sitting from left to right) John Peele, Nadiah Wyatt, Max Beesley, (standing left from front to rear) John Thompson, Miracle Lewis, Alonzo Wallace, (standing right from front to rear) Erin Shepherd, Katie King, Robert Whitsett.
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