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Law enforcement agencies team up for Back to School Bash in Clarksville

Back to School Bash
Posted at 3:47 PM, Jul 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-01 10:14:58-04

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The clock is ticking for students and parents. In many districts, we're just a week or two away from the first day back to school — for some it's even sooner.

In Clarksville, the police and county sheriff's department teamed up to make sure kids are ready. "Yeah, I’m nervous but I’m also excited," said Vanessa Carter, a mother of twin incoming Kindergarten students.

"Excited and nervous because he’s going to middle school," said Dashamir Williams.

But it wasn't just the parents a little unsettled by big changes. "A little bit nervous," said Damarion Jahmir. "I’ve been to Barksdale [Elementary School] my whole life basically."

But this Back to School Bash was an attempt to get everyone excited about getting back into the classroom by making sure they're prepared when they do. "Anything a child would need to go to school for that first day," said James Derico of the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office.

Two brothers in blue, Jeff and James Derico, dreamed up this idea to provide free haircuts, games and prizes to as many Clarksville kids as possible. There was just one problem — more kids showed up than they anticipated. "The word got out and it just got huge — more than me and him could just handle alone," said James.

So they decided to raffle off as many backpacks as possible, stuffed to the zipper with all the essentials. "So we have pencils, colored pencils," said Carter.

"We want to make sure these kids are excited and have everything they need and just be there," said Deputy Dustin Evans of the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office.

The event had the added bonus that all of the supplies were furnished by first responders. "We want the community to know that -- we’re ordinary people. Just because we wear the badge don’t mean we’re the bad people," said Jeff Derico of the Clarksville Police Department.

That gave law enforcement the chance to connect with kids on a much deeper level. "It’s been fun letting the kids out and hanging out and talk to the cops and firefighters and stuff," said Williams.

The hope was, if you can make it fun and educational, maybe they'll think the same thing about getting back to school. "To see the smiles on the kids' faces when they get a backpack full of supplies," said Deputy Evans.