Internet Safety Reinforced at Annual Pizza Party

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Officer Sabrina Pitch of the Suffolk County Police Department Community Relations Bureau paid another educational visit to the district on Jan. 16, talking to students and parents about the safe use of electronics and the internet during the third annual “Being Police SMART: A Pizza Party with the Principals and Police.” The event, part of a partnership between the police department and Commack Road and Sherwood elementary schools, took place in the middle school auditorium.

Following a family pizza dinner, Commack Road Principal James Cameron and Sherwood Principal Chad Walerstein welcomed attendees before turning over the microphone to Officer Pitch, who was accompanied by 3rd Precinct Community Liaison Officer Eiffel Ramirez. The valuable information she provided included tips on age-appropriate apps and games, the use of time limits, password creation and security, software and security updates, avoiding phishing and malware, dealing with cyberbullying, and the dangers of oversharing and talking to strangers online.

“Eighty percent of every disciplinary action we have in the high school involves social media or cellphones,” said Dr. Christopher Smalley, the district’s assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. “Boys and girls, everything that you write using your phones or social media lasts forever. It never ever goes away. As a school district, we want to do what we can to help you be more responsible. We and your parents are living this with you and learning ourselves how to be more responsible with our own phones, and I know you’re going to make good decisions from now on.”

To end the night, the administrators raffled off a pair of Amazon Kindle Fires to two students, courtesy of the two elementary schools’ PTAs.

“We had an amazing turnout for this great collaborative effort of the Sherwood and Commack Road school communities,” said Walerstein. “We thank everyone for their support, and we hope everyone learned from Officer Pitch.”