The safety patrol squad at Indian Trail Elementary School, 20912 s. Frankfort Square Road, takes the job seriously.
Serving on the safety patrol squad is one way that 4th graders begin to take on some responsibility, said Indian Trail School Principal Dan Pierson. At the age of 9 or 10, kids are honestly excited and enthusiastic for an opportunity to be seen as examples by the younger students.
"I always tell my 4th graders that they have to set the example for the younger kids. The safety patrol knows going into it that they're held to a higher level," he said.
This year the squad has 17 patrollers. They show up early and are among the last to leave the building. At the start and end of each day, they're stationed strategically around the high traffic spots around the building and really do assist in implementing the overall safety practices needed, said Pierson.
At this stage of development, the role of a "safety patroller" is considered a perk among their peers. They're looked up to by the younger kids, he said.
Membership is not just something they sign-up for. At the tail end of 3rd grad, teachers make recommendations based on maturity and attitude. The parents have to sign-off on it. The selected squad shadows the current crop for several days at the end of the year to get a feel for it, he said.
The safety patrol is just one way that the kids have to build-in opportunities for maturity. Tina Walker, a special education teacher at the school, doubles as head of the safety patrol. "They do it out of the goodness of their hearts." They are divided up for a handful of duties, including assisting in the hallway, doorways and assisting the adult crossing guards out front. The bulk of the squad works the buses, she said.
That means they stand at the door of the bus, holding up color-coded cards with numbers that tell the riders which bus they should board. It's an important job, Walker added. The little kids count on the safety patrollers to serve as guides.
None of the safety patrol takes a bus, said Walker. They have to be here at least 10 minutes early and leave as much as 10-to-15 minutes late. "They're all walkers or car riders. A few ride their bikes."
The school appreciates their willingness to volunteer, Walker added. At the end of the year she plans an ice cream social as a way of thanking them for their efforts. "They deserve some attention," she said.
For 10-year-old Caleb Zelgar, who holds up a blue sign with number, 23, written on it, the experience makes him feel good. "I like doing it. I like helping the bus driver and the children.
Get news alerts and Facebook updates from these Lincoln-Way Patch sites: