School Gets Out Safely For Summer

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It's the day of school kids typically look forward to all year-- the last.

Friday began a months-long recess for thousands of students in mid-Michigan. But the last day of school is often associated with hazing, pranks and partying.

Organizations around the area did their best to make sure that didn't happen this year.

"Everything went excellent today," says ELPD Sgt. Larry Sparkes. "We have an excellent relationship with the school system. We were out patroling, looking for developing problems and nothing occurred."

That may be thanks in part to special after school programs, like the one in Lansing's Baker-Donora neighborhood and another at East Lansing's Hannah Center. There, students jammed out to video games and basketball rather than last-day-of-school mischief.

"It was the last day of school and we were lucky," says Blake VandeBunte, the youth coordinator of East Lansing's Teen Club. "We didn't have that attitude of 'What are they going to do? They can't get us in trouble anymore.' The kids we had here today are great, they really like coming here. They didn't want to blow it on their last day."

Clearing the students out on their last day of school went off without a hitch. But now police and parents want to make sure the rest of the summer goes well.

"Parents don't stop working in the summer," VandeBunte says. "We need to do a good job of giving kids things to do, affordable things to do, to keep them occupied."

High schoolers especially may be tempted to get into unsavory situations now that school's out, but if Friday was any indicator of how the rest of the summer goes, police aren't worried.

"We haven't gotten any calls for concern, so I guess we're doing something right," Sgt. Sparkes says.

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