School safety patrollers add extra level of caution

Every metro Atlanta school system has thrown open the doors and cranked up the buses for the 2017-2018 school year. And rain has drearily cloaked some of the first busy school-time rush hours, making traffic worse and conditions more dangerous for kids getting to school. Fortunately, one mainstay in school safety holds strong: the AAA School Safety Patrols program.

On the Thursday before the start of the school year, AAA’s Georgia Field VP Sasha Marcincyzk, spokesperson Garrett Townsend and several public officials gathered to share their “School’s Open – Drive Carefully” campaign. The yellows of the buses and the School Safety Patrol belts shown bright.

AAA established the Safety Patrols program in the 1920s. I got to wield the belt and badge my 6th grade year at Sagamore Hills Elementary in DeKalb 20 years ago. And I spent much of that time telling fellow students to tow the silver line in the halls, while some my fellow patrollers had more exciting duties in the carpool lane.

14-year-old Alyce Washington is Georgia’s Safety Patroller of the Year and has helped maintain order outside and inside her Clayton County school.

“I just want to ensure that everybody is safe, because looking down at your phone and seeing a text message can really hurt somebody. So I just want to help everybody help themselves,” a wise-beyond-her-years Washington says. “We make sure that students are looking at signs and looking both ways when crossing the street and following the rules of AAA.”

AAA data shows that children ages five to 14 are the highest risk age group for pedestrian injury. Washington has this message for fellow students.

“You know…one wrong step…” She makes a tragic clicking sound. Life can change on a dime.

“AAA School Safety Patrol plays an important role…

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