How much do you know about the school safety patrol?

Safety Patrol history

●The American Automobile Association helped set up school patrols in the 1920s to get older students to help younger ones cross the street and get to school safely.

●The program spread quickly, and the model has been adopted in more than two dozen countries.

●Today, more than 600,000 students are in the safety patrol in 32,000 elementary or middle schools.

Safety Patrol pledge

●Report for duty on time

●Perform my duties faithfully

●Strive to prevent traffic crashes, always setting a good example myself

●Obey my teachers and officers of the patrol

●Report dangerous student practices

●Strive to earn the respect of fellow students

Safety Patrol ranks

Students can apply or be selected for leadership positions within the patrol, including captains, who assign posts and monitor other patrols; lieutenants, who assist the captains and fill in for absent patrol members; and sergeants, who maintain the patrol bulletin board and manage the equipment inventory.

Patrol badges reflect patrollers’ ranks. Vintage badges have become collectibles — sometimes selling for hundreds of dollars.

Sam Browne belts

The telltale sign of the safety patrol is the neon belts. The design, with its waist and diagonal shoulder straps, is named for a 19th century British army officer who used the belt to carry his sword.

The design has remained but the colors have changed — from white to neon orange to a fluorescent green that the AAA calls “lectric green”

Some famous past patrol members

●Former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton

●U.S. Supreme Court Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and Clarence Thomas

●Former astronauts, including Norman E. Thagard, Robert D. Cabana and Mary Ellen Weber

●Olympic Gold Medalists Bruce Jenner (Decathlon), Lynette Woodard (basketball) and Mike Ramsey (hockey)

●Nobel Prize winner Gary S. Becker

●Lee Iacocca, former chief executive and chairman of Chrysler Corp.

Source: American Automobile Association

Michael Alison Chandler writes about schools and families in the Washington region.

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