The South Carolina SRTS Resource Center’s partnership program requires Gold Level Partner Schools to host a safety skills event. These events come in all shapes and sizes, with the main goal of providing bicycle and pedestrian safety education to students in an engaging way. Safety Patrols are groups of students that often assist with the arrival and dismissal process at many schools and serve as role models for other students. That said, Safety Patrols were an obvious audience for additional and effective safety trainings.
The South Carolina Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Resource Center piloted the first Safety Patrol trainings at Rosewood Elementary International School (Rock Hill, SC) and East North Street Academy (Greenville, SC) in the Spring of 2014. Partnerships were established with Safe Kids York County and Safe Kids Upstate to assist with developing the agenda, securing guest speakers to facilitate the training, and creating a pre/post test for evaluation purposes. Both trainings were successful, providing valuable safety lessons to the students and further educating the Safety Patrol leaders.
In order to encourage schools to conduct Safety Patrol trainings on their own, the Resource Center created a series of Safety Patrol resources available on our website (scsaferoutes.org). One tip sheet is for teachers who serve as the Safety Patrol leader. This tip sheet explains how to plan Safety Patrol trainings, the safety topics to cover, and recommends community members to conduct the trainings. Additionally, this tip sheet also contains a pre/post test to help evaluate the students’ knowledge retention.
There is also a tip sheet for parents. The resources reaffirm the safety messages delivered in the trainings and encourage parents to enforce safety messages at home, too. Lastly, there is a Safety Patrol pocket guide pledge and badge for the Safety Patrols to receive after completing the training.
To date, the Resource Center has assisted with eight Safety Patrol trainings across the state, reaching more than 175 students. The trainings cover pedestrian safety, bicycle safety, car rider safety, and safe loading/unloading procedures. Not only are the students benefiting from these trainings, as shown by one school’s pre-test scores increasing from 78% to 94% on the post-test evaluations, but the Resource Center has been able to establish new relationships with law enforcement agencies and local bike shops through collaboration on the trainings.