Local students thank Sheriff's Dept. for keeping them safe on Halloween

By Megan R. Harrell
Star Staff

Halloween excitement forces parents and children to keep safety precautions in mind as they celebrate. The traditional events of the day leave children vulnerable to accidents and dangers they might otherwise never encounter.
   Ms. Jo Buchanan's fourth grade class at Cloudland Elementary decided to thank the local Sheriff's Department for watching over them as they trick-or-treat this year. The class brought in treats from home and worked together to fill over 50 goody bags for Sheriff Henson and his officers.
   Buchanan said she wanted to do something to give back to the people who work so hard to protect local children. "I was thinking of something we could do to help the community, and I thought, 'why not help the Sheriff's Department because they are the ones that do all the work on Halloween night'," Buchanan said.
   After Buchanan's fourth graders heard about the idea they were more than excited about the project. The children donated drink boxes, packages of crackers, pudding cups, and a great deal of candy for the bags. They worked in an assembly line to fill the packages, and each student wrote a personalized note to members of the Sheriff's Department.
   Buchanan said the project helped the children establish respect for law enforcement officers and other authority figures in the community.
   Atlanta Largent, 9, was excited about participating in the goody bag project because it gave her an opportunity to show her gratitude. "The reason we did it is because the Sheriff's Department keeps us safe on Halloween, and we were just saying thank you for taking care of us," Largent said.
   Sheriff Henson came to the school to accept the bags and give students safety tips for Halloween night. He told the students he loved them for what they did for him.
   "Coming from the kids this makes you feel really good knowing that you have kids this size supporting you as Sheriff of Carter County," Henson said. "It makes you feel great, and I do not know of anything that they could have done that would have made me feel any better."
   Henson asked the students to be careful on Halloween, and gave them some pointers on what to do for safety. Law enforcement officials recommend parents and children practice the following safety precautions while trick-or-treating:
   * Carry a flashlight
   * Walk, don't run
   * Obey all traffic signals
   * Stay in familiar neighborhoods
   * Don't cut across yards or driveways
   * Wear costumes that do not drag on the ground
   * Avoid wearing masks while walking between houses
   * Wear clothes with reflective markings
   * Stay away from pets
   * Only approach houses that are well lit