95 Years and Counting
continues to build on its legacy of safety, leadership
HUBER HEIGHTS — The belt color may have changed quite dramatically over the years in the AAA School Safety Patrol Program — from white to neon orange to today’s fluorescent green called ‘Lectric Lime’ — but the mission remains the same: To provide a safer environment and leadership opportunities for millions of schoolchildren.
What began as a small, boys-only initiative continues to stand the test of time, celebrating its 95th year in 2015. Since that humble beginning, the AAA-sponsored Patrol has expanded into the world’s largest safety program.
Today, more than 635,000 male and female Patrollers in 33,500 schools nationwide dedicate their time before and after school each day, working with teacher supervisors and adult crossing guards to ensure the safety of their classmates.
“AAA School Safety Patrol plays an important role in helping young pedestrians learn and fulfill responsibilities regarding traffic safety,” said AAA Public Affairs Manager, Cindy Antrican. “Millions of U.S. boys and girls have honorably served their classmates since the program began in the early 1920s, and interest in the program has 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.
The program has been praised by national and international safety and education groups for reducing deaths and injuries among five to-14-year olds, the age group most at risk for pedestrian injury. AAA provides an array of equipment and educational material to Patrollers, including the ‘Lectric Lime’ fluorescent belts, Patrol badges and training resources.
The program also teaches lifelong lessons of good citizenship, leadership and responsibility, as evident in the fact that past Patrollers have grown up to be U.S. presidents or vice presidents (George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Joe Biden), astronauts, governors, members of Congress, Supreme Court justices (William Brennan, Stephen Breyer, Warren Burger, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas) and Olympic medalists (Eric Heiden, Caitlyn Jenner and Edwin Moses). Many Patrollers also now serve as educators, executives, physicians and other community leaders throughout the nation.
“AAA clubs across the country are very proud of not only our Patrollers, but also school personnel who administer the program and law enforcement officials who contribute to Patrollers’ success in local communities,” Antrican said.
The AAA School Safety Patrol Lifesaving Award is the highest award given to Patrol members. Since 1949, 411 lifesaving medals have been presented to Patrollers who, while on duty, have saved the life of another person in imminent danger.
As the program pushes toward its 100th year in 2020, AAA and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety will also continue their sponsorship with the Charles M. Hayes Advancement Fund, which provides resources to approximately 10 schools per year in helping them advance existing Patrol programs or develop new ones.
“AAA values our longstanding sponsorship of the program,” Antrican said. “In addition to keeping children safe, it helps to build meaningful relationships in communities across the country. As an association that values community investment, the program embodies what AAA stands for.”