Grandview Heights Schools: Safety-patrol students serve as crossing guards

Alan Froman
ThisWeek group
Owen Bentley, 11, guides fellow Edison Intermediate/Larson Middle School students across Oakland Avenue in Grandview Heights on Oct. 15. Owen is part of the school's safety patrol that was created to assist the city with its shortage of crossing guards.

Grandview Heights Schools' hybrid model actually means there are two school days in one. 

Each day, two sets of students are walking and biking to and from school, with one group attending class in the morning and the other in the afternoon. 

That requires additional crossing guards to help students safely make their way to school. 

Edison Intermediate/Larson Middle School has started a safety patrol to allow student volunteers to serve as crossing guards. 

"The city came to us because they were having some issues about crossing guards and finding enough volunteers to fill all the slots," EILMS assistant principal Shawn Hinkle said. 

The safety patrol is filling that need and giving students leadership opportunities, he said. 

Twenty-one students in grades 6-9 are serving on the safety patrol, Hinkle said. The roster includes a few freshmen from Grandview Heights High School. 

Students were nominated for the patrol by teachers and school administrators, he said. 

"We were looking for students who were dependable, who would take on the role seriously and would be able to work with their peers responsibly," Hinkle said. 

For that reason, the program was limited to students in sixth grade or above, said Allyson Sanders, a math teacher who serves as student-council adviser and is helping to coordinate the safety-patrol program. 

Students were recruited for the safety patrol after Grandview switched to the hybrid model Sept. 8, Hinkle said. Under the hybrid model, one group of students attends school in person in the morning and another group in the afternoon every day. 

The students went through training using a manual provided by the American Automobile Association, he said. 

The safety patrol went on duty beginning Oct. 5. 

Students will be assigned weeklong duty on rotations, Hinkle said. 

"Basically, it's one week on duty, two weeks off for each student," he said. 

The safety patrol works at First and Oakland avenues and at First and Fairview avenues. 

"We have two students assigned for each shift at First and Oakland because that intersection has a traffic signal and one student at Fairview," Sanders said. 

Students assigned morning duty are on patrol from 7:40 to 8 a.m. as morning students go to school and 10:55 to 11:10 a.m. as they go home. The afternoon-class shifts are from 11:40 a.m. to noon and 2:55 to 3:10 p.m.  

The safety patrol is charged only with helping pedestrians and cyclists to cross safely, Hinkle said. 

"They don't step into the street or direct traffic," he said. 

Hinkle said he, Sanders or another adult staff member is on hand for each shift to assist the safety patrol and direct motorists when needed. 

"There hasn't been any problem with the other students listening and following the directions of their peers," he said. "It's working out really well." 

The patrol gives another leadership opportunity for some who might not have an interest or aptitude for sports, band or other activities, Sanders said. 

"It also gives students a chance to meet and interact with other students they might not otherwise get to know at school," she said. 

Seventh-grader Maci Tew worked the morning shift at First and Oakland during the week of Oct. 5. 

"It was pretty easy after the training we did," she said. "People seemed to listen to you and paid attention to what you were telling them." 

It's an important job, Maci said, but the crossing-guard duty also gave her an opportunity to talk to some of her friends as they walked to school. 

"That helps make it fun," she said. 

Tatum Lusher said she wanted to be a crossing guard because "it seemed like something that was important to do." 

It gave her a good feeling that her teachers had nominated her to serve on the safety patrol, she said. 

Tatum spent the week of Oct. 5 at First and Fairview. 

"Everybody seemed to pay attention to what I was saying, even the older kids," she said. 

The most important thing for a crossing guard to do is pay attention, so she knows when it is safe to allow pedestrians to cross, Tatum said. 

Sixth-grader Ben Richardson said he was looking forward to his first stint on patrol the week of Oct. 19 at First and Oakland. 

"I'm a little nervous, but I think it will be fine," he said. "The most important thing I remember from the training is that you shouldn't yell at your peers. You just tell them when it's safe to cross, not order them around. 

"I think it's going to be great to be able to contribute to help make my community safer," Ben said. 

afroman@thisweeknews.com 

@ThisWeekAfroman

Edison Intermediate/Larson Middle School students Owen Bentley (foreground) and Nolan Drum, both 11, wait to guide fellow students across West First Avenue on Oct. 15.