By Terry Rogers
On Wednesday, January 6, Milford School District held a ceremony to swear in students who agreed to serve as School Safety Patrol Officers, a program sponsored by AAA. The students sworn in joined more than 600,000 other students around the country who agree to promote safety in their schools. The Milford Pride Patrol was organized by School Resource Officer, Theresa Bloodsworth.
“I am very proud that each and every one of you have agreed to give 100 percent of your effort, 100 percent of the time,” Officer Bloodsworth said to the students and their families who were gathered in the Milford High School auditorium. “You will lead by example and act as a role model for other students, demonstrating how to be safe and healthy.”
Dr. Phyllis Kohel, Superintendent of Milford School District, told the students that safety was something the district took very seriously. She said that safety in school was important, but that the district wanted students to be safe on the bus and at home as well. She said that the students who had chosen to demonstrate the best in safety practices should be proud that they had taken on such a responsibility. Dr. Kohel also thanked the parents and families who had supported the children in their decision to join the Pride Patrol.
The School Safety Patrol Officer’s program was created by AAA in the 1920s in an effort to promote pedestrian traffic due to increasing traffic. The organization has awarded more than 400 Lifesaving Medal award since 1949 for patrol members whose actions have led to a life being saved. Students have been awarded the medals for preventing accidents at school, reporting bullying incidents and other actions that were determined heroic.
“We are very grateful for your decision to protect others in and out of school,” said Susan Mead, Director of Safety and Education for AAA. “You have joined an elite group of students who want to keep yourself and others safe. We hope this is the start of a lifetime of making the right choices and choosing the safe way to do things.”
Judge William Hopkins conducted the swearing in of the students, commenting that he also was a member of the patrol when he was young, helping keep students safe in his school during World War II. He recalled having to assist with air raid drills where students were taught to get on the floor, put their head between their knees and cover their necks in the event of a bombing incident during the war.
“I want to congratulate the parents, the school and the police department for beginning this in Milford,” Judge Hopkins said. “I am a prime example of what this type of service can lead to. It got me interested in student government in high school and it was there I learned to stand up for what I believed in. Standing up for what I believe in has led me to a long career and you will find that you are justly rewarded for doing the right thing. You will become a protector and if you protect one student from bullying or injury, you have accomplished something wonderful.”
Each elementary school presented a group of students who then took the oath for the Safety Patrol, starting with the Bulldog Best Brigade, then the Mispillion Pride Patrol and then the Ross Paw Patrol. All students were given a certificate and neon green belt that they will wear as they guide younger students on the bus platforms and in hallways during the school year.