Magician teaches safety

A magician used a little magic to reinforce past safety lessons and provide new ones to Wapakoneta Elementary School students Monday morning.
Kerry Blair, known as Kerry Kazaam, was met with an enthusiastic response from students at the school, who laughed along at his silly antics and tried to figure out his magic tricks, while also shouting out the answers to dilemmas they may face. They also listened to what they can do to make themselves safer.
This year’s lessons reinforced some of the safety topics Kazaam has presented during shows in the past, but also included new information about protecting personal information and cell phones.
The program, which is being presented to students in all Auglaize County elementary schools this year, is provided through the National Child Safety Council, with the support of the Auglaize County Sheriff’s Office and area police departments, and through donations made by local businesses.
DARE Deputy Sam Blank told children attending the program Monday at Wapakoneta Elementary School that he wanted them to take the information they learned and share it with their families.
Auglaize County Sheriff Al Solomon said DARE and programs like this offer an opportunity for law enforcement officers to have a positive presence in the schools helping children before there ever is a problem.
“It’s one of the ways we continue to combat drugs,” Solomon said.
Seeing law enforcement officers as “safety friends” was one of the lessons of Monday’s talk as Kazaam talked to students about adults they could seek out in times of trouble.
“These are the guys you trust to help you when you need it most,” Kazaam said. “It’s their job to protect us.”
He also encouraged students to seek out parents and family members or teachers and counselors at school when they were faced with problems.
“They are here to help you,” Kazaam said.
Other lessons included stoplight safety and cell phone safety. A combined lesson — put cell phones and handheld devices away whether crossing the street or driving. Kazaam told students to pay attention to motorists because with all the possible distractions they aren’t paying attention to them.
He stressed the importance of calling 911 in times of emergency — “No matter what the emergency, one number does it all,” Kazaam said, explaining that it should only be dialed when someone’s life is in danger. He also went over with the children what to do and say when they call.
Kazaam told students to protect their personal information, which can go out to anyone via tags and posts online or through pictures taken on a cell phone.
“Anyone can use that information to locate where you are,” Kazaam said. “Be careful sharing your information. Sometimes others than who you intended will see it.”
Using a magic trick to demonstrate, he said just that quick someone can gather personal information the students should try to protect.
Bullying and cyber bullying also were addressed by the magician, who reminded students that bullies come in all shapes and sizes and that cell phones and the internet have made it easier to be a bully.
“Don’t bully or let someone be bullied,” Kazaam said. “Be proud of who you are. There is no one else in the world like you and respect others for why they are proud of who they are. Treat others how you want to be treated.”