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Ridgewood Daily Voice serves Ridgewood, NJ

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Ridgewood Students Help Ease Trauma For Kids Visiting Police Station

A group of Ben Franklin Middle School students collected a bin of toys for the Ridgewood Police Department.
A group of Ben Franklin Middle School students collected a bin of toys for the Ridgewood Police Department. Photo Credit: Lauren Kidd Ferguson

RIDGEWOOD, N.J. – When children came into the Ho-Ho-Kus police station, retired officer Sean Leonard always felt bad there wasn’t much for them to do.

He would flip over Miranda rights forms for them to draw on or give them magazines, he said.

“I felt bad for the kids,” said the former school resource officer.

So when Leonard starting teaching at Ben Franklin Middle School in Ridgewood and advising a group of 7th graders, he came up with an idea for a way for the students to help.

Leonard’s “Advisory” group collected items such as puzzles, coloring books, books and stuffed animals, and donated the bin full of toys to the Ridgewood Police Department Tuesday.

“There are never any toys in the police department for kids to play with,” said Ridgewood Sgt. Peter Bolton, adding that kids may come in after a car accident or other traumatic event, or even when their parents are having a car seat installed for a sibling.

“The kids did a great job. They put a lot of thought into it, and we are really appreciative,” he said.

The Advisory program at Ben Franklin Middle School was formed to create connections between each student and a caring adult within the school. This year's program was designed to create student awareness of the community’s needs. Each Advisory, supervised by a teacher, meets once a week and has about 10 students.

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