AAA Celebrates School Safety Patrol Centennial

by Gwen Newell

The 100th anniversary of AAA’s School Safety Patrol was celebrated across the Carolinas this month as hundreds of elementary schools were sent centennial pennants to display in classrooms and hallways. The Charlotte skyline was lit in the patroller belt ‘Lectric Lime displayed at the Wells Fargo Duke Energy Center. Thirty-five Patroller of the Year candidates received goodie bags, which included a special commemorative t-shirt. AAA Fins Car Wash honored the milestone as Fin the Shark participated by wearing his SSP gear!

As the world’s largest school-based safety program, 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% decrease since 2010.The training that patrollers receive instills safety sense beyond street crossings, including bus and car drop-offs, monitoring hallway congestion, and teaching patrollers invaluable leadership skills.

“Rain or shine, safety patrollers get to school early and stay late, devoting their time to safety,” said Tiffany Wright, spokesperson for AAA – The Auto Club Group in the Carolinas. “We have over 12,000 patrollers who serve the Carolinas and we are proud of these young leaders.”

Notable patrollers include Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, astronauts, governors, members of Congress, Supreme Court justices, Olympic medalists, and authors, like Diary of a Wimpy Kid Jeff Kinney. Many now serve as educators, executives, and community leaders. Some, like Karen Guilbeault, enter law enforcement. Guilbeault rose to become the first female captain in the Cranston, R.I., police department and their first to graduate from the FBI’s National Academy in Virginia.

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, email AAA School Safety Patrol

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