A special education classroom at a Barrio Logan elementary school has been furnished with new desks and colorful chairs that make students excited to attend class thanks to a donation from a local police department.
Bright chairs and interactive desks welcome Kirsten Ratliff’s 20 students at Grace W. Perkins Elementary School. From whiteboard desks to chairs that twist, the furniture was selected with the students’ needs in mind.
“It definitely will help one way, just in the fact that it’s bright and exciting and students will want to come into the classroom,” Ratliff told NBC 7. “It’s nice, it’s clean, it’s colorful, so I think just the learning environment is exciting.”
The furniture was donated and assembled by the San Diego Harbor Police Department, which began working with Perkins Elementary in 2019. Officers saw that classrooms at the school did not necessarily have the tools students needed in order to succeed and asked how they could help.
Initially, the department did not have the funding necessary to host programs with the students, so they asked for help from the San Diego Harbor Police Foundation. Together, they raised $9,000 to buy furniture for Perkins’ special education classroom.
“It’s an important idea that kids come to school and they want to learn, but do they have the tools needed to get a good educational experience?” said Mark Stainbrook, Chief of Police of the San Diego Harbor Police Department.
Stainbrook said the students’ reaction to the new furniture mirrors the excitement a child has on Christmas Day.
“I saw some video of the kids when they came in and saw their new furniture, and it was like that kid at Christmas who comes in with a big smile on their face and sees their cool, new furniture,” he said.
The San Diego Harbor Police Department is looking to fund several more classrooms at Perkins with furniture that’s appropriate with the learning level of the kids, Stainbrook said.