School Safety Patrol Is On The Job!

·3 min read

The Safety Patrol at Swan Hills School is working hard to help their classmates get to and from school safely. Each school day, a team of patrollers arrives at the school early in the morning, and a team stays after school in the afternoon to guide pedestrians in safely crossing the street in front of the school. The Swan Hills School has had a Safety Patrol Program for many years, although the program had lapsed for a few years before being revived in 2015. Brenda Kuyek has been the program’s coordinator since it was reinstated and reports that “it has been a wonderful experience to work with the students and the district AMA Coordinator.”

The Swan Hills Safety Patrol has achieved great success, earning the Silver Safety Standard award in the 2016 – 2017 school year, the Bronze Safety Standard award in 2017 – 2018, and a Gold Safety Standard award in 2018 – 2019. Unfortunately, the program came to an abrupt end last year due to COVID-19.

The Safety Patrol at the Swan Hills School is comprised of students from grades 4, 5, and 6. Several of the current patrollers have participated in the program for three years; these more experienced patrollers are usually recognized and become Lead Patrollers. The Safety Patrol team usually meets every few months to review protocols and practices. Patrollers are usually out at the entrance to the teacher’s parking lot from 8:15 to 8:25 AM and from 3:20 to 3:40 PM. There is almost always an adult supervisor when the patrollers are on duty. The patroller’s weekly schedule is drawn up around student and parent preferences. Generally, the students who arrive at the school early are on the morning shifts, and the students who are picked up by parents or walk home from school are on the afternoon shifts.

The School Safety Patrol Program in Alberta is sponsored by the Alberta Motor Association (AMA), with more than 500 schools and 17,000 students enrolled in the program across the province. AMA’s district coordinators ensure that the school Safety Patrol Programs have the appropriate supplies, such as safety vests, signs, pins, and certificates. AMA also funds and provides the training for this program, which usually involves the district coordinator visiting the school in the fall and spring to work with the students. The COVID-19 health restrictions did not allow for onsite training when school started up again this past fall, so a combination of online resources and videos was utilized under the supervision of the school’s program coordinator.

The safety of the students in the Safety Patrol is of the utmost importance. The school usually tries to remind parents of their role in keeping students safe at the crosswalk through communications in the school newsletter, school announcements, and notes sent home with students. Sometimes the local RCMP and Peace Officer will make an appearance to show their support and to ensure that motorists are obeying the rules of the road.

Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette