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AAA's School Safety Patrol Program Celebrates Centennial

Chicago forefathers recognized for being one of the first cities to embrace the Safety Patrol Program

Broadcast quality B-Roll: 2020 AAA Safety Patrol B-Roll.mp4 (dropbox.com)

Broadcast quality B-roll: CPD Superintendent https://youtu.be/ww51h2KQETw

AURORA, Ill., (March 2, 2021)—Chicago is rich in history including recognizing the need for the AAA School Safety Patrol Program. One hundred years ago, Mayor William Thompson and then Chief of Police Charles Fitzmorris worked with Charles M. Hayes, president of the AAA Chicago Motor Club, to make Chicago one of the first cities to implement this landmark safety program.

Today, AAA is proud to celebrate its School Safety Patrol program's centennial anniversary. 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.

"I would like to congratulate the AAA School Safety Patrol Program for celebrating 100 years of service to our schools and communities," said the Chicago Superintendent of Police David O. Brown. "The Chicago Police Department is proud to help schools implement this program and pass down the traditions of leadership and service to the next generation."

Created to make schoolchildren safer while walking to school, the program has grown-up and matured with the times while remaining steadfast to 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 that Patrollers receive instills safety sense beyond street crossings, including bus and car drop-offs, monitoring hallway congestion, and teaching Patrollers invaluable leadership skills.

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 Patrollers now serve as educators, executives, and community leaders.

"Rain or shine, cold and snow, Safety Patrollers get to school early and stay late, sacrificing their own time and comfort in service to others," said Molly Hart, spokesperson for AAA – The Auto Club Group. "We are proud of these young leaders, as well as the dedicated teachers, paraprofessionals and adult crossing guards who serve as advisors and mentors to them."

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 SchoolSafetyPatrol@acg.aaacom.

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