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home : education : education Friday, November 24, 2017

9/6/2017 4:38:00 PM Email this articlePrint this article 
School Safety - School Patrols

By Amy Doeun

Michele Giampolo has been a school patrol officer with the St. Paul Police department for four years. Each year 45 different schools and around 850-1,000 students participate in a program that teaches students how to get their peers to school safely.

Giampolo said, "There is a school patrol supervisor at each school. They talk to 3rd graders at the end of the year and see who would be interested in being part of the school patrol. You have to be 9 years old to be a school patrol. Some students return from the previous year. They usually find out who will be school patrol members before the summer starts." Training starts right away in the fall.

Giampolo said that the main thing students need to be aware of is their surroundings. "They always want to be paying attention to surroundings. Not all drivers are paying attention, so to stay safe you have to pay attention for them. Walk on sidewalks whenever possible. And always cross the street at a cross walk. Look left, right then left again, before they cross. Make sure to make eye contact with the driver so that they know they are going to be crossing." Also do not cross between parked cars.

In the winter, crossing the street can be even dicier when the sun sets earlier and students may be returning home after dark. "If they are going to cross the street during non daylight hours kids need to wear reflective clothing." Giampolo makes special flags for her patrols with a reflective strip on it. "Each of the students also wear a vest so this is just an extra protection."

Texting and walking is not recommended. "Some kids will be texting on the phone and walking. That isn't a good idea. Don't assume that cars will stop. You should assume that they won't stop. Make sure to walk in a group when possible."

Walking in a group can also be added safety if strangers approach kids. "If they are approached by someone they don't know walk away and tell an adult at school or home right away." This is another area where being aware of your surroundings in crucial.

Giampolo loves her work. "I really enjoy working with children and forming personal relationships with them having positive interaction. Sometimes all they know about the police is from the media, which isn't the most positive portrayal all the time. I am a person just like they are. I want them to know if they are in danger they can go to a police officer."




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