As a school safety patrol member in Greenbelt, Tidilus Stinnie helps load children on the school bus, making sure they stay in line. And one day last December, the 12-year-old helped control an unruly mother who threatened to blow up the bus.
Cammie Ward, a fifth-grader on safety patrol in Manassas, was approached last March by an angry mother who threatened to shoot several children and raised her blouse to show a gun. But Cammie stayed on the job.
As they helped other children cross the street last October, District fifth-graders Raeshawn Turner and Richard E. Parks Jr. were hit and thrown 25 feet by a speeding car that swerved onto the grassy median. Before they were struck, the pair pushed two other children to safety, relatives said.
It was a tough few months for school safety patrol members, who since the early 1900s have been known primarily for helping their classmates cross streets and safely board their buses.
"This last year we unfortunately happened to have some dangerous incidents," said Fred A. Carr, a spokesman for the American Automobile Association Potomac region, which helps with the Washington area's safety patrol program.
Twelve of the area's school patrol members were honored yesterday for their diligence on the job by AAA at a luncheon in Fairfax and each was presented with a $100 savings bond. Four had been confronted with dangerous situations.
Tidilus Stinnie, a sixth-grader, said he was helping children board a school bus to Greenbelt Center Elementary School on the morning of Dec. 12 when a woman entered the bus. "She was like angry with the kids," Tidilus said. At one point the woman shouted that she was going to blow up the bus, Tidilus said.
The woman told her daughter to go home and get the girl's father "because he had a gun," Tidilus said. "And he came back and I think he had a gun because his coat was puffed out like this."
Tidilus slipped off the bus and ran a short distance home and called police.
Prince George's County police said no arrests were made in the incident and they don't know for sure whether a gun was involved.
Cammie Ward, 11, a student at West Gate Elementary School in Manassas, said a woman approached while she was at her post with an adult crossing guard.
"She started talking about how these kids had beat up her kid and vandalized her house," Cammie said. "She pulled up her blouse and showed me her gun. I was shocked. She said she was going to shoot them." Then she left, Cammie said.
"My heart was beating real fast," Cammie said. "I was standing there like, 'Gosh, she's got a gun. She's going to shoot me.' "
Despite her panicky feelings, she finished helping the children cross the street, then reported the incident at school. Prince William County police could not say yesterday whether the woman was charged.
Orr Elementary students Raeshawn Turner, 11, and Richard E. Parks Jr., 12, said they barely remember the incident that kept them out of their Washington school for three months.
According to AAA, Raeshawn and Richard were standing on the pedestrian median separating Minnesota Avenue and Naylor Road SE when a speeding car ran a stop sign, traveled the wrong way on a one-way street and headed for a group of children whom the pair were guarding.
Raeshawn had a compound fracture of her right leg and a shoulder fracture, she said. Richard had a compound fracture of his lower leg and still has two screws holding it together, his mother said.
An AAA spokesman said yesterday that the woman driver was charged with going the wrong way on a one-way street and with having defective brakes on her car.
According to AAA, while rescue workers tried to keep Richard still, he tried to stand, saying, "I'm still on duty and have to stand at attention. I need to get back to my post."