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100 years and generations yet to come AAA’s School Safety Patrol Program celebrates centennial

AAA is proud to celebrate its School Safety Patrol program’s centennial anniversary.

For 100 years, Patrollers around the world have provided school-aged children an extra sense of safety and security when going to and from school.

The program and its more than 440 Lifesaving Award recipients have contributed to the steady decline of U.S. student pedestrian (ages 5-14) deaths - a 24 percent decrease since 2010.

“AAA’s School Safety Patrol program is the world’s largest school-based safety program,” said AAA National President and CEO, and former patroller, Marshall Doney. “We could not be prouder of the thousands of young men and women annually who dedicate their time before and after school each day to ensure the safety of their classmates.

“This community program teaches safety and leadership skills to ensure our youngest generations are making smart decisions. I can attest first hand. The important pedestrian and traffic safety measures.

“I learned as a patroller had a profound and lasting impact on my career.”

Created to make schoolchildren safer while walking to school, the program has grown-up and matured with the times while remaining steadfast in its mission to provide a safer environment and leadership opportunities for millions of schoolchildren.

Started as a boys-only initiative when horses and buggies were still a transportation mode, the program has evolved to include girls.

The training patrollers receive instills safety sense beyond street crossings, including bus and car drop-offs, monitoring hallway congestion, and teaching patrollers invaluable leadership skills.

“Patrollers serve as role models in their communities for their fellow students, and today more than ever, students need positive role models to emulate,” said Terri Petrick, president of AAA East Central. “We are honored to continue this tradition, and commend patrollers everywhere for their daily lifesaving actions.”

For some students, becoming a patroller is inspired by wanting to help others and the privilege to wear the patroller belt and badge proudly. The belt may come off after fifth grade, but the leadership values and safety awareness have inspired many to pursue admirable careers, including the sitting president.

Other notable patrollers include Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, astronauts, governors, members of Congress, Supreme Court justices, Olympic medalists, and authors, such as “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” Jeff Kinney.

Many patrollers now serve as educators, executives, and community leaders.

The 2020-21 school year, different as it may be, boasts 679,000 patrollers in 35,000 schools in the United States. The legacy doesn’t stop here, however.

Over the last 100 years, interest in and excitement for the program have spread around the world. The AAA model has been adopted in at least 30 other countries, including England, France, Germany, the Netherlands and New Zealand.

Since 1920, AAA provides various equipment and education materials to patrollers, including reflective belts, patrol badges and training resources. To learn how to bring the AAA School Safety Patrol to your school, call 412-365-7211.

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Editor’s note: AAA East Central is a nonprofit association with 73 local offices in Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia serving 2.7 million members.