MOORE, Okla. (KFOR) – It’s a little after 3 in the afternoon at Sky Ranch Elementary School.
For most kids, that means climbing in a car or bus to head home.
But these 5th and 6th graders are just starting the important job of getting them all there safely.
“I just like to make sure kids don’t run out into the street,” says one Sky Ranch safety patroller.
Pick-up and drop-off, to school and home, for a few minutes every day, the wearers of these lime green sashes have lives in their hands.
“I kind of wanted to help little kids,” says another patroller.
They were all chosen carefully at this school and others.
Sixth grade math teacher Erin Coleman, a former safety patroller herself, says leadership and good marks are only a couple of requirements for the job.
She says, “I talk to their 5th grade teachers and to the other 6th grade teachers and we pick the best of the best.”
It’s been 30 years since Oklahoma City Police Sgt. Jeff Spruill wore the badge and vest.
The skills he learned then, he says, still come in handy.
“You learn really early that people respecting the rules is much better than thinking people are just going to respect you.”
More than a century ago, AAA started their school safety program, choosing a few older kids to help teachers keep students safe.
They don’t direct traffic so much as make sure their charges are where they’re supposed to be.
In a century on the job, they’ve seen it all.
Another Sky Ranch patroller recalls, “We had a kid fall out of a car once.”
They are part of the world’s largest school-based safety program, 30 countries besides the United States.
Most days it’s routine work with only occasional reminders that lives depend on them twice a day for as long as school is in session.
For more information on the AAA School Safety Patrol, go to cluballiance.aaa.com/traffic-safety/school-safety-patrol.