SAN DIMAS– Oak Mesa Elementary School second-graders learned how government laws and regulations aim to ensure community safety during a week of mini-civics lessons from City of La Verne leaders, including a City Council member, police officer and firefighter.

La Verne City Councilmember Tim Hepburn, La Verne police Cpl. Mark Gutierrez and La Verne fire Cpt. Kevin Wilton visited Oak Mesa second-grade classrooms to augment curriculum introducing students to basic facets of American government. The officials gave demonstrations and answered questions.

“We have been teaching our students about why we need government and laws, and we thought why not bring in government representatives to bring the lessons alive,” Oak Mesa second-grade teacher Eilean Plumley said. “The students are taking away that there is a great need for a government that enacts laws and collect taxes so that we can hire police and firefighters to help keep us safe.”

Hepburn explained the City Council’s role in budgeting, oversight of city departments and the process for making decisions. He answered student questions about local laws pertaining to parking and fireworks as well as questions such as, “How do you come up with ideas?” and “How do you make decisions?”

Gutierrez talked to students about the primary role police officers play in keeping the city safe and gave a brief tutorial on fingerprinting. One student from each class left fingerprints on a desk and watched as Gutierrez dusted for the print, used special tape to extract it, then cataloged the print information on an index card.

Wilton asked students to locate all the smoke detectors in their homes and assist their parents in finding a safe place to meet outside in case of fire. He also allowed teachers to don bulky firefighting uniforms and fire hats, delighting students.

“A large part of the success of Bonita Unified continues to be from the support we receive from our community partners,” Bonita Unified Superintendent Carl J. Coles said, “We appreciate the time our city leaders and first responders took to teach our students about the importance of local government. The partnerships with our two cities is another example of why Bonita Unified will continue to thrive.”


Bonita_Civics_1_09.12.19: La Verne police Cpl. Mark Gutierrez provides a tutorial in fingerprinting during a presentation to second-graders at Oak Mesa Elementary.

Bonita_Civics_2_09.12.19: Oak Mesa second-grade teacher Eilean Plumley dons firefighter gear during a class presentation by La Verne fire Cpt. Kevin Wilton.