AAA School Safety Patrol


AAA School Safety Patrols play an important role in helping young pedestrians learn and fulfill responsibilities regarding traffic safety. Millions of boys and girls have honorably served their classmates since the AAA School Safety Patrol program began in the U.S. in 1920. Interest in the program has spread around the world; at least 30 other countries, including New Zealand, the Netherlands, England, Germany, and France, have emulated the AAA School Safety Patrol program. The experience is the same — a reduction in traffic death rates.

For nearly a century, AAA clubs have proudly sponsored, promoted and aided AAA School Safety Patrol programs as a community service in the interest of safety for all schoolchildren. During its long and distinguished history, the AAA School Safety Patrol program has provided a safer pedestrian environment and a wide spectrum of educational opportunities for millions of children, and AAA has provided the means for the patrol to succeed.

Role of the School Safety Patrol

AAA School Safety Patrol members are school-sponsored student volunteers from upper elementary grades, middle and junior high schools.

Patrollers direct children, not traffic. As school-age leaders in traffic safety, patrol members teach other students about traffic safety on a peer-to-peer basis. They also serve as models for younger children, who look up to them.

School Safety Patrol members:

  • Complete training in traffic safety.
  • Protect students from hazards of crossing roads and highways on their way to and from school.
  • Assist bus drivers in safely transporting students to and from school.
  • Teach fellow students about traffic safety.
  • Serve in other leadership roles under the direction of school officials.

Typically, teachers and principals appoint patrol members, who participate with parental approval. A teacher usually serves as the patrol advisor. Local law enforcement officers may also be involved with your patrol.

Forming Your Patrol

Partnerships

A AAA School Safety Patrol program requires people and organizations to work together. AAA encourages your school to work with:

  • Parent-teacher groups
  • Police
  • Police auxiliaries
  • Bus drivers
  • Traffic engineering departments
  • Community safety councils
  • Service clubs
  • Other community organizations

The Role of AAA

AAA/CAA provides:

  • Sponsorship
  • Traffic safety education, logistical support and awareness presentations
  • Public outreach and recognition
  • Resources, including equipment and program guidelines

The Role of the School

Principals appoint teachers to serve as Patrol Advisors. Advisors implement AAA School Safety Patrols within the school and meet with other area Advisors to exchange best practices.

The Role of the Parent-Teacher Group (Where Applicable)

The PTA or PTO:

  • Supports the school’s Patrol program
  • Sponsors equipment and training
  • Implements recognition programs
  • Serves as the liaison between the school and community

The Role of Law Enforcement or Traffic Engineering Officials

Law enforcement or traffic engineering officials:

  • Serve as a program consultant
  • Advocate on the Patrol’s behalf to motorists and the community
  • Contribute to the Patrol’s training and development

The Role of the Community

Civic organizations — such as police auxiliaries, women’s clubs, school booster organizations, American Legion posts or other safety or civic groups — may provide recognition and community awareness programs.

Securing Official School Authorization

Before school principals institute the AAA School Safety Patrol program, they must obtain approval from the school superintendent or school board. The approval process will vary according to community and school system requirements. In some cases, principals may seek support for the program from community organizations. Although most superintendents are familiar with Patrol programs in general, they may not understand the details of operation.

To gain support in the community and in the school system, a principal introducing a School Safety Patrol program should be prepared to:

  • Identify the community’s unique needs
  • Present the program’s objectives
  • Explain operational requirements
  • Outline available resources to support the program

The school principal may choose to use the AAA School Safety Patrol School Registration Form. An outline of the school’s specific roles and responsibilities can be found above.

Parental Permission

Students must have permission from parents or legal guardians to participate in the AAA School Safety Patrol program. When they understand the educational value, community service and character-building aspects of the program, most parents and guardians are proud to give their permission.

Operating Your Equipment

The two identifying pieces of equipment for safety patrol members are:

  • Official patrol belts.
  • Badges pinned to the shoulder strap of the belt at chest level.

Schools also may provide additional equipment, such as ponchos, caps and flags.

Tip: Many schools are using walkie-talkies for patrollers to communicate with each other and the advisor while on duty.

Assigned equipment should be documented. Officers must maintain a roster with each patrol member’s name and a notation of equipment provided to them.

Responsibility

Each patrol member must wear a belt and badge when on duty. Assign a sergeant to see that patrol members are accountable for the care of equipment assigned to them. It is the sergeant’s responsibility to keep a daily record of the condition of this school property.

Equipment includes:

  • Belts.
  • Badges.
  • Flags.
  • Caps.
  • Ponchos.

The sergeant responsible for equipment works with the captain and patrol sponsor to order replacement equipment. Equipment which is lost or misplaced must be replaced. Worn-out equipment should be destroyed.

Encourage students to refer to the Patrol Member Handbook for proper wear and care of patrol equipment.

Care Tips

Poncho Care

The following suggestions will help maximize poncho wear:

  • Hang the poncho on a wooden hanger, with shoulders centered on the hanger arms.
  • Hang it in a place that is cool and away from direct sunlight and heat.
  • Make certain the sleeves are straight. Turned-back cuffs hold water and may cause cracking or mildew.
  • If dirty, wipe clean only with a damp cloth.

Belt Care

Belts should be taken off during off-duty hours, rolled up and kept in a designated place. They should be cleaned regularly with a damp cloth and will be bright and smart-looking if taken care of. If the patrol belt needs cleaning:

  • Pour some liquid or powder soap onto a damp cloth and scrub thoroughly.
  • Rinse the belt thoroughly.
  • Artificial heat such as dryers or ovens should not be used for rapid drying.
  • Alcohol and abrasive cleaners should not be used.

Badge Care

Badges should be worn only on the patrol belt. They should be pinned on the shoulder strap of the belt at chest level and should be removed only when the belt is being washed. Removing and replacing the badge several times each day can cause the pin to break. Badges may be cleaned by washing with mild soap and water. It is important to immediately dry the badge. Polish containing abrasives should not be used to clean badges.