By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer
HOLMES BEACH The final bell
of the season sounds on Thursday, May 27, at Anna
Maria Elementary School. Last week, school Resource
Officer Pete Lannon gave third graders a lot to
think about before they hang up their backpacks
for the summer.
Lannon launched his Summer Safety program and aimed
it at the third grade students for one reason.
SUN PHOTO/TOM VAUGHT
Anna Maria Elementary School Resource Officer Pete
Lannon lectures third graders on summer safety.
"You'll come back as fourth-graders next year and
you'll start acting like you own the place," he said.
"You will be treated with more respect and the younger
students will look up to you, so you have a responsibility
to be role models."
Lannon told them to wear helmets when they ride their
bikes and make sure the strap is snapped in place under
their chins. Then he gave them a warning.
"If I see you without a helmet, I will tell you to
go home," he said. "The second time, I will
give you a warning and your parents will have to come
and see me. The third time, you will get a ticket and
you will have to see a judge."
Stern words from the man in the police uniform who has
spoken so often to the students about safety.
Lannon also showed the youngsters how to properly use
their bikes, especially those who have hand brakes, and
how to use hand signals. He also showed them where reflectors
go and warned them to make sure they have working headlights
on the bikes. He spoke of an ordinance in two cities that
he would like to see in Anna Maria and Holmes Beach.
"In Longboat Key and Bradenton Beach, you have to
have a sound-making device like a bell or horn,"
he said. "We don't have a law requiring that in Holmes
Beach, but I want them to pass one."
As for crosswalks, he warned that kids should not ride
"It is best to get off your bike and wait for the
cars to stop," he said. "By law, you could sit
on your bike and wait for them to stop, but cars are more
inclined to stop if you're on foot."
Then, he touched on avoiding dangerous strangers.
"Never walk alone, don't take shortcuts, tell your
parents where you are going and if you will be late,"
he said. "Don't wear clothes with your name on them
because it just gives a stranger more information about
If a stranger tries to talk to them from a car while they
are riding their bikes, he told them to turn around and
go the other way because it takes a long time for a driver
to turn around a car on the street. He also warned against
getting into a car with someone that they do not know
well, even if they say there is a family emergency.
"You should talk to your parents about getting a
code word, so that if they are injured in an accident
and have to send someone to get you, they can tell that
person what the code word is and you'll know it's alright."
After the lecture, he and parent volunteer Debbie Scott
handed out packets with information about safety and reflectors
the kids could wear on their sneakers.
The reflectors were the fun stuff, but the real stuff
was the message he brought.