Diligent crossing guards from across Central Alberta had a well-deserved day off on Thursday.
At the Kinex Arena, more than 500 student safety patrollers were recognized for another flawless year of getting their peers across the street safely.
Members of the RCMP were on hand to pose for pictures with the student patrollers and congratulate them, and Red Deer community members and AMA employees helped serve up some barbecue to the children.
The AMA has been funding and operating the School Safety Patrol program for 73 years.
A fatality or serious injury has never been recorded at an Alberta school while the program is in operation.
“Considering we have 500 schools in the program, and over 17,000 patrollers have participated in the program, it’s rather impressive,” said Darcy Baron, Red Deer regional coordinator with the AMA School Safety Patrol.
AMA representatives typically train and provide supplies to fifth and sixth grade students at the beginning of the school year, and occasionally fourth graders participate, Baron said.
“Before and after school can get pretty hectic, and it’s good to know they’re out there and they know their role and are keeping everyone safe,” Baron said.
Newer schools often don’t need AMA School Safety Patrollers, as they are designed with traffic reduction in mind, Baron said.
But seeing all the Central Alberta-area patrollers at one place at one time reaffirms the program is still a big part of school safety in the province, she added.
“We couldn’t fit them into two pools, we had to schedule three separate times for them to swim.”