School Patrolling

November 25, 2006 at 10:23 pm 27 comments

school bus 

Here in Winnipeg, school buses are provided to children residing more than one kilometer from their school.  For students who are walking to school, the School Division provides trained patrols to assist with students crossing at major intersections and those within the vicinity of the school. 

A week after school started this Fall, the vice principal at my youngest son’s school sent a letter home to parents. 

She wrote: 

Every year at our school, we work hard to make sure that we have competent and reliable street patrols in place in order to ensure your child’s safety to and from school.  Street patrols are typically grades 5 to 6 students who volunteer their time in helping children cross the street before and after school.  They are a responsible group who dedicate countless hours, in all kinds of weather conditions. 

As you may be aware, some of the walking routes to school are busier than others. While our school patrols do a wonderful job, it would add extra security if there were an adult at some of these posts. 

Then she went on to refer to the particular posts just around the corner from our home.  Actually, it’s just four houses away.  

I read the letter as if it was addressed to me.  I should be the one to volunteer for this job.  I had wanted to do some volunteer work for the school for quite some time now.  I still enjoy working at home.  I like the flexibility of time it offers, I like that we don’t have to rush in the morning, and I like it that I am home when the kids come back from school.  But there are times when it gets boring and lonely and that’s when I would want to do something different, something exciting.  This is one of the reasons I started my daily walks. 

How many times had I wanted to go with my kids on their field trips, or once in a while help out during lunch, but that would mean that I’d miss time from work.  And I didn’t want a volunteer work that would interfere with my regular paying job.  This patrol duty would only require 15 minutes of my time in the morning and another 15 minutes in the afternoon.  So I thought that this was the perfect volunteer job for me. 

I immediately called the school and I was asked to attend the meeting.  By the way, my sister who lives just next door also volunteered.  And did I also mention that my 11-year old niece has been patrolling for two years now? 

The meeting was held at the school library and was attended by the student volunteers, both old and new, the adult volunteers (me and sis), and the teacher patrol supervisor.  Constable Dan from the Winnipeg Police Department was there to brief us and review the school patrol’s job. 



Members of the school patrol are responsible for:

1.       Controlling, directing and instructing students in safely crossing the streets and highways at or near our school, and in safely getting on and off the school bus.

2.       Helping teachers, parents and police in instructing school children about safe practices on streets and highways at all times and in all places. 

Constable Dan stressed that our job is to make sure the children in our care can cross the road safely and it is NOT our duty to stop traffic.  So we don’t even try.  That is the police officer’s job. 

Following these rules will help us do our job well: 

1.       Report promptly at the times set out by our supervisors.

2.       Stay on duty until the bell rings, or until the patrol captain gives us the signal to leave.

3.       If we can’t go on duty, tell our captain in advance.  That way, a spare patrol member will be on our post while we’re away.   



We were given bright orange vests and flags.  The vest helps identify me as a school patrol member and it also makes me stand out so drivers can see me better.  The flag is an extension of my arm, helping make my signals clearer to traffic. 



I started my volunteer work the next day after the meeting.  I put into practice what I have learned the day before.  I arrived at my post well ahead of the time of my shift.  And I took my position one step back from the edge of the curb.  I stood at ease with my hands behind my back. 


When the first bunch of children came, I extended my arms in a 45-degree angle in the front of them.  Then I checked all directions for oncoming traffic.  When all vehicles have stopped, I moved out one step from the curb facing the traffic, extended my flag arm at a 90-degree angle, and waved by curbside arm behind me to motion the children to cross the street. 


My first day on the job was a little intimidating.  After all, I was putting myself out there in the street.  But drivers aren’t given licenses unless they know the rules of the road and they know that they should stop when they see the flags of the patrols up and when they see children crossing.  But there are also drivers who are careless and impatient especially during the rush hour and I have to make sure that they will stop at the crosswalk before I let the children cross the street, especially during the times when the roads are icy and slippery. 

So far, I have been enjoying working at my post.  The children and also some of the parents who walk with their children are friendly.  Sometimes I would get a “Thank you” and I’d give them a “You’re welcome” back.  A little “thank you,” although just said casually, goes a long way.  I really feel that what I’m doing is appreciated. 

And talk about being friendly, there’s this lady in a red jacket driving a beige car and she would usually give me a little honk and a wave and smile.  At first I didn’t recognize her.  After the second time, I realized that it was my son’s first grade teacher.  So whenever I wasn’t busy crossing children and I see her waving at me while turning that intersection, I’d also wave back at her.  Isn’t she sweet? 

It’s really a good thing that we still have a mild weather, unusually mild actually.  We should be knee-high deep in snow by now.  But I can still see green grass.  Yup, the snow you’ve seen in my pictures a few posts back have melted from our Spring-like temperatures and we were snow-less for a few weeks. It was only this past week when it snowed again and it looks like this one is here to stay for this season.

I know what lies ahead, bone-chilling temperatures of up to minus 30.  So I don’t know how I will like it when we get there.  Well, as Constable Dan has reminded us, we should be dressed appropriately for the weather at all times.  If it’s raining, wear a raincoat.  And in the winter, wear warm coats, toques, gloves and boots.  We don’t want to be shivering and then pacing back and forth to keep ourselves warm in our posts when we have to help children cross the street.

Source: School Safety Patrol Handbook, Manitoba Public Insurance 


Entry filed under: Detour, Winnipeg.

My first-born turns seventeen Snowy Day

27 Comments Add your own

  • 1. JO  |  November 26, 2006 at 9:00 am

    Thank you for doing this! As a parent, there is always the fear of the safety of our kids when crossing the streets. And knowing that another parent is out there making sure that it is safe for the kids to cross is a relieve.

    Goodluck to your new task!

  • 2. ipanema  |  November 26, 2006 at 3:08 pm

    That’s a nice volunteer work. You feel happy at the end of the day, doing good for other people – especially children. 🙂

  • 3. ann  |  November 26, 2006 at 3:30 pm

    It’s good that you volunteer for this work. Others won’t mind about other people’s safety. I’m just imagining you raising your hand with the flag, it’s not easy for the first time right?

  • 4. eric aka senor enrique  |  November 26, 2006 at 5:38 pm

    What a wonderful way to spend a few minutes away from the usual routine.

    They should have the same program here in Manila; but then again, come to think of it, Manila doesn’t “seem to have” pedestrian lanes or sidewalks.

    Good job, Irene!

  • 5. Sidney  |  November 26, 2006 at 8:01 pm

    This is a nice volunteering work! It looks easy but it asks commitment and to be honest I wouldn’t like to be out there when it is minus 30 degrees.
    You are a nice person. Good job!

  • 6. Kyels  |  November 26, 2006 at 9:31 pm

    That’s a great volunteer work but too bad we do not have such patrolling here though except for the traffic polices.

    But it’s good!


  • 7. niceheart  |  November 26, 2006 at 10:49 pm

    Thanks JO. It’s really comforting to know that there are patrols to help children cross the streets.

    Ipanema, yeah, it feels good to do something good for others. 🙂

    Ann, it was intimidating at first. And up til now, I sometimes still hesitate when I have to raise the flag. Drivers are supposed to do a full stop at the crosswalk when there are children waiting to cross, but there are some, not a lot, but there are some who would not stop. Sometimes they just slow down and I would doubt if they’d stop. So there are times when I hesitate.

  • 8. niceheart  |  November 26, 2006 at 10:55 pm

    Thank you, Eric. I remember how it is in Manila. Everytime my mother goes there for a visit, she’d come back here telling me of her horrifying stories about crossing the streets there.

    Thanks, Sidney. This may be only a volunteer work but yeah, I do feel responsible for the children under my care. I don’t look forward to the minus 30 either. 😦

    Thank you Kyels. I don’t know how many countries and which ones have school patrols. But it’s really a good service to the children.

  • 9. Leah  |  November 26, 2006 at 10:59 pm

    What a noble thing to do… I’m not sure if there are school patrols where my daughter gets dropped off. I don’t think so. I hope Ontario follows suit.

  • 10. niceheart  |  November 26, 2006 at 11:13 pm

    I’m not so sure about the other provinces, Leah. But here in Winnipeg, there are patrols at intersections within the vicinity of the school.

  • 11. ladybug  |  November 27, 2006 at 2:29 am

    Congratulations! You are doing your part to make your neighorhood a safer pace place for the school children. You really are a good role model for your kids. 🙂

  • 12. zingtrial  |  November 27, 2006 at 8:32 am

    Hi, What a grand job you are doing.
    Children in your area are safe now.
    Keep it up my friend. 🙂 .
    Thanks for sharing.
    Wish you well

  • 13. Abaniko  |  November 27, 2006 at 10:19 am

    How noble! Keep up the good (volunteer) work. 🙂

  • 14. Daphne  |  November 27, 2006 at 11:59 am

    Kudos for volunteering to do an admirable task.

    Would it be ok if i ‘hire’ you to help me cross these chaotic Manila streets? 😀
    I have a difficult time kasi navigating my way through these reckless drivers who totally ignore pedestrians lanes.


  • 15. haze  |  November 27, 2006 at 1:44 pm

    Great initiative and concern not only for your children’s sake but for others too! Keep it up and goodluck to you ! Applause 🙂

  • 16. niceheart  |  November 27, 2006 at 10:43 pm

    Thanks, ladybug. I try to be a good role model, although I have to admit that I am not always good. 🙂

    Thank you kindly, abaniko, for thinking this is noble. I hardly think it is. I guess this is just my way of giving back to the school and to the community. Because I can’t give much in terms of material things. 🙂

  • 17. niceheart  |  November 27, 2006 at 10:48 pm

    I can only sigh with you Daphne. I’m worried that if I do come back there that I’d be stuck at home because I won’t know any more how to navigate the streets there. 🙂 I also don’t think that I’d want to patrol the streets there. Much dangerous yata.

    Thank you haze. I think it’s just but natural for us parents to be concerned not just for our own children but for others too.

  • 18. KD  |  November 28, 2006 at 2:00 am

    It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference. Keep it po sa pag volunteer nyo.
    Galing sa blog ng aking wishert ann, link ko kayo

  • 19. Toe  |  November 28, 2006 at 5:11 am

    I guess that’s what’s wonderful about North America – the things they think of for the welfare of the children. It’s a pity that in the Philippines (and here in Cambodia even more), I see tiny kids all the time commuting by themselves and crossing the streets where drivers are so reckless. And what about the pollution they inhale everyday?

    That’s really wonderful of you to volunteer Niceheart. It’s nice to be able to help the children.

  • 20. Karen  |  November 28, 2006 at 1:47 pm

    that’s so nice of you to volunteer miss niceheart. my kid sister was patrol when she was in grade 6, i know it’s not easy thing to do esp. when it’s awfully cold out. my sister told me that when the weather drops to certain temperature they weren’t required to go to their posts (around -30C or -40C, i’m not sure). is it like that where you volunteer, as well?

  • 21. bw  |  November 28, 2006 at 8:46 pm

    Good for you! That’s a very commendable effort . I am glad you found time to give back to the community. Volunteer work is also fun and I’m sure at the end of the day you feel good about what you have done.

  • 22. niceheart  |  November 28, 2006 at 9:08 pm

    Hi Zingtrial. Sorry for the late response. Just saw your comment now. Got caught in the spam box again. I don’t know why that happens. Anyway, thanks. 🙂

    That’s true, KD. Thank you. I also linked you up.

    Toe, it’s really tough to see the differences, the contrast of how children live in different parts of the world. This is why I always point out to my children how lucky they are that they live in this part of the world.

  • 23. niceheart  |  November 28, 2006 at 9:14 pm

    Thanks, Karen. I also have another older niece and a nephew who were patrols when they were in 5th and 6th grades. Itong mga anak ko eh hindi naging interesado. Anyway, I don’t blame them and I didn’t push them because of the weather nga. Yeah, you’re right. When the windchill drops to a certain point, we are not required to patrol.

    Thank you BW. I can only find little time to volunteer. And this one is also very convenient for me. And yeah, it feels good to do something for the community.

  • 24. iskoo  |  November 28, 2006 at 10:34 pm

    ang galing, maganda yan yang volunteer job na yan, nakakatuwa kasi kahit pala bata pa tumatanggap din para sa ganitong task, it means yung mga bata pinakikinggan din ng matatanda, dito sa pinas MMDA na o may baril na mga pulis sinasaway pa mga driver 😦

  • 25. Walking home from school « Journey to Honeyville  |  March 6, 2007 at 11:44 pm

    […] week, after a long break from patrolling (three weeks of a cold spell and another week at the office), I was kind of excited to be back at […]

  • 26. The View From My Post « Journey to Honeyville  |  July 6, 2007 at 8:34 pm

    […] know this post is kinda late, school being out and all.  But I haven’t talked much about my school patrolling duties.  I was actually planning on posting a series called “The View from my Post.”  […]

  • 27. Of cold spells and 12-year-olds « Journey to Honeyville  |  July 11, 2007 at 10:20 pm

    […] other patrols at their post.  (For those of you who are fairly new at this blog, I volunteer as a school patrol, crossing children before and after school.)  Of course, only then did I remember that we are not […]


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