By Darla Shelden
Like the postal service, no matter what the weather, Adult Crossing Guards and AAA School Safety Patrol student members help children and classmates get to and from school safely every day.
To honor these outstanding safety advocates, AAA Oklahoma is calling for nominations for its 3rd annual Safety Awards. The deadline to submit nominations is April 19.
“The lifesaving service that school crossing guards and Safety Patrollers provide in our communities often goes unnoticed,” said Chuck Mai, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma.
“AAA says ‘job well done’ – we’re pleased to recognize their efforts and dedication.”
Adult Crossing Guards play an important role in helping children cross streets safely at key locations on their way to and from school.”
“The Adult Crossing Guards provide a first line of security for the children,” said Francene Thomas, Oklahoma City Police Department Crossing Guard Program Coordinator. “They take notice of the surroundings, vehicles and people in the area in close proximity to the children.”
“It doesn’t pay much, but the service that they provide to the community and the school is invaluable,” said Thomas.
Rachelle Fierro and George Delucio work as Adult Crossing Guards at Putnam Heights Elementary School in Oklahoma City.
Delucio, a former school bus driver who serves as a teaching assistant at Putnam Heights as well as a crossing guard, has worked at the school for 7 years.
“I really enjoy working with the students,” said Delucio. “The most important thing we do is take care of the students by looking out for their safety.
“We encourage the parents and teachers to advise the students to follow directions of the crossing guards. That way students learn how to go across the street, how to watch both directions, and to just be aware of their surroundings. We advise them just to be safe. That’s our main concern – the safety of the students.”
Thomas added, “Our crossing guards allow for a little more sense of security. Parents know there is an adult out there that is mindful of their child while they’re on the way to and from school.”
Student AAA School Safety Patrol members are assigned to work at a school crossing location along with an Adult Crossing Guard. Safety Patrollers are responsible only for controlling their classmates on the sidewalk. They wait for the Crossing Guard’s direction to release children to cross the street.
Established in 1920, the AAA School Safety Patrol Program has active patrol units in more than 250 schools across Oklahoma. The program allows 5th and 6th grade students to provide extra support for classmates when they cross the street.
AAA invites students, parents, school administrators, faculty, staff and citizens to nominate candidates they believe deserve this year’s safety awards. Self-nominations are also accepted.
Chuck Mai, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma said, “These school students and adults have thankless jobs that start early in the morning, in a wide variety of weather conditions that only Oklahoma can bring. We salute them for their tireless efforts.”
The auto club’s traffic safety staff will evaluate nominations to select finalists for the award based on dedication, friendliness, professionalism and safety.
The honors will then be awarded to three finalists from both categories, who demonstrate the best example of the procedures and responsibilities outlined in AAA’s Handbook for Adult Crossing Guards and the AAA School Safety Patrol Operations Manual.
Winners will be announced on Crossing Guard Appreciation Day, May 3. Honorees will receive plaques of recognition.
Nominations can be completed online at www.AAA.com/schoolsafety.
A not-for-profit organization, AAA Oklahoma serves its 364,000 members across Oklahoma with emergency help on the road, auto travel assistance and a wide range of personal insurance, travel, financial and automotive services through branch offices, a regional operations center and the Internet.
Those Interested in becoming an Adult Crossing Guard can call Francene Thomas at 405-297-1142 or visit www.okc.gov/jobs and click on “School Crossing Guard” to apply.
For more information, visit www.ok.aaa.com or contact Danial Karnes at 918-748-1074 or [email protected]