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Police program a good way to encourage learning

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Clark Elementary School staff hand out pizza to students on Friday during a police-sponsored pizza party.

The saliva-inducing aroma of pizza filled Clark Elementary School’s cafeteria on Friday.

A small stack of hot, fresh pizza’s sat in one corner of the room. Next to the stack were two large bottles of coke. As Tamera Carter’s fifth grade class walked into the cafeteria, their eyes immediately shot over to the pizza.

It was clear that the students were more excited about the pizza than the police officers sitting a few feet from the food.

Though the students were about to devour some cheesy, pepperoni pizza, they had earned it. Mrs. Carter’s class had improved test scores by a couple hundred points since the start of the school year, something Clark principal Aubrey Larkin called impressive.

The students were just the first group to receive a pizza party as a part of the Selma Police Department’s Police Encouraging Academics, Reading and Learning program. The program awards students for reading a significant amount of books each month. Clark will serve as a pilot study. The police department is expected to expand the program  to other schools.

If the goal is to get students reading, then there is no better way than a pizza party. If we stop, briefly, to be honest, cafeteria food isn’t the greatest in the world.

But pizza? What kid could possibly refuse a delicious slice of pizza? It’s unlikely such a kid exists.

Certainly there are health reasons why pizza may not be the greatest idea. But if it’s one time per month for beating the rest of the school in reading, then it’s not an egregious act.

In reality, the program is an innovative way for the police department to interact with students and encourage learning at the same time.

By interacting with students and encouraging learning, the department is, in turn, building a brighter future for Selma and reducing the chance that children will commit crime. We encourage the police department to expand the program as soon as possible..