College View School turned a fundraising event into an opportunity for special needs students and Glendale police officers to spend time together.
On Nov. 22, the school held its 14th annual Wheel-A-Walk-A-Thon in front of the campus. The event helped raise about $2,000 for special buses needed for field trips. One third of the school’s students are in wheelchairs; required buses seat only six students.
College View students and staff, together with student volunteers from Hoover High School, walked the front circle of the school. Each of the eight College View classrooms took a 15-minute turn walking. Glendale Police, some of whose officers recently underwent an autism sensitivity workshop called
Autism Speaks, were invited to come up and interact with the College View students, many of whom are autistic. The police department responded by having several officers on hand, in shifts, including patrol and motorcycle units.
Glendale Police officers come to the school every year around the holidays, but this is the first time that they’ve taken part in the fundraiser.
“We like to know them and them us,” said College View Principal Jay Schwartz said of the officers.
Schwartz thought that with the recent autism training that the officers received, taking part in the fundraiser would be a particularly good idea and a chance for interaction between the officers and the students.
“It turned out fantastically for both,” said Schwartz. “Our kids really liked the dogs, but I think they enjoyed walking with the policemen more.”
The officers took turns standing on the perimeter of the circle, cheering the students on.
“Sometimes [the officers] actually walked with the students. Some of the students shook their hands or hugged the officer,” said Schwartz. “I think the officers got a real kick out of it as well.”
She added that the fundraiser was mutually beneficial to both the police department and the school. College View PTA members and Sgt. Fox of GPD are now talking about having the police come to the school to have a dialogue to determine how the police can be better prepared for an emergency when called to the aid of a family with a special needs child at home.
“I applaud the Glendale Police Department,” said Schwartz. “They do everything they can to serve everyone in the community.”
Glendale’s College View School, established in 1977, provides for the needs of students with extraordinary special needs, concentrating on functional academics, communication, skills development and independent living strategies in a safe and creative environment. There are presently 72 students enrolled, between the ages of 3 and 22.
College View School is located at 1700 E. Mountain St. in Glendale.