That visibility exists when these student volunteers are doing the task properly, and is amplified when they have behavioural lapses.
Shirley Tillie, who lives south of Caron, said she saw a pair of elementary school safety patrollers in late May that were not doing the task responsibly over the lunch hour.
What she saw caused her to take action.
“There were two girls up there. A boy came about up to their shoulders and they were pushing him back between the two of them. I yelled at them to stop and they gave me the finger,” Tillie told the Times-Herald.
Tillie said that the boy was not visibly injured during the incident but she remained concerned about his self-esteem.
She said that she wouldn’t recognize the kids even if she saw them again.
Tillie said she frequently drives through school zones and this isn’t the first time she’s seen safety patrollers not doing the job properly.
“You can’t expect a bunch of kids that aren’t paying attention to protect other kids that aren’t paying attention,” Tillie said.
Both Prairie South School Division and Holy Trinity Catholic School Division take the role of safety patrollers very seriously.
Principal Tammy Erskine of Palliser Heights Elementary School wants the public to know how important the safety patrol is and how hard her 30 student volunteers work at it.
“Participation is voluntary and open to Grade 5 to Grade 8 students. It involves a commitment of approximately 15 minutes for each scheduled shift. Team members are selected for their dependability, attitude, knowledge of patrol procedures and interest in helping others,” Erskine said.
The primary functions of the safety patrol are to instruct, direct and control students in crossing the roadways at or near the school and to assist teachers and parents in the instruction of school children in safe pedestrian practices.
The expectations of individual patrollers is that they report for duty on time, perform the duties faithfully, strive to improve road safety, obey teachers and officers of the patrol, report dangerous practices of students and drivers and strive to earn the respect of fellow students.
The Moose Jaw Police Service contacts schools at the beginning of the year to talk with safety patrollers as needed and answer questions. The police also provide stop signs, safety vests and CAA Safety Patrol Handbooks.
Safety patroller recruits are placed with experienced patrollers, along with teacher supervision.
“Teachers support patrollers with ongoing training, scheduling and consistent supervision at the crosswalk. Patrollers receive regular assessment and feedback to ensure that safe procedures are followed,” Erskine said.
Palliser Heights safety patrollers receive “both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards and recognition,” including special sub (sandwiches) lunches with the Moose Jaw Warriors, other special lunches, planned activities like swimming and pizza and movie nights.
Holy Trinity Superintendent of Human Resources Dave DePape said that schools in his division use similar approaches to Prairie South.
“I know in our schools there are two options for training: a teacher supervisor that’s experienced with the program, and other schools bring in Moose Jaw Police Service to do the training” DePape said.
Like Palliser Heights, schools in Holy Trinity also have mandatory adult supervision during crossing guard hours.
“Generally, it’s a really dedicated group that does a great job and does a big safety job for us,” DePape said.