When did older school kids stop getting assigned as School Crossing Guards?

I remember in the 6th grade we were asked if we wanted to sign up as a crossing guard. IIRC it meant reporting to school 30 mins early and staying after school 30 mins late. Required parent’s permission. My mom didn’t want to get me to school that early and pick me up late.

Even Charlie Brown was a crossing guard. He got hit by a car. Because… He was Charlie Brown :smiley: he fails at everything.

I tried googling and there’s no mention of kids serving as Crossing Guards. Even the Charlie Brown strips don’t show up.

I know adults are hired part time now.

When did it change?

You may find more information if you search for the term [safety patrol](safety patrol). I never heard students in this role called crossing guards.

:smiley: safety patrol gets lots of Google hits.

I was beginning to think I had imagined trying to join the kid crossing guard program.

Thank you Gary T!


I did that for a while in grade school. Got out of class a skosh early and, as a reward, one the the dads took a bunch of us to a Kansas City Athletics game. I remember having trouble figuring out the white canvas strap thing- the badge of our authority :rolleyes:

I have never seen students used as crossing guards except at special events. I am not saying it didn’t happen but why would anyone possibly sign up for that? Did they get paid?

I was in my school safety patrol in 6th grade. In addition to crossing guard duty, we also unfolded the American flag every morning and ran it up the flagpole and took it down at the end of the day - our own little flag ceremony, as it were. I remember some of the rules for handling the flag - it had to be folded a certain way and it could never touch the ground.

Why? I’m not really sure, I guess I liked responsibility. And we did get to come in late and leave early - and on cold mornings we got to hang in the cafeteria and drink hot chocolate before going to class, making us even later - and sometimes we got cake if there was extra in the cafeteria.

And I got to wear the white strappy sash thing and a badge. OK, I was a little bit of a dork back then.

I didn’t do it, but it was, I dunno, honorable or something. They did not get paid. We had safety patrollers at our grammar school in the 80s, and it was 7th and 8th graders. They were only used on the side streets. The busy streets had adult crossing guards.

I was a safety patrol guy in 5th and 6th grades (lieutenant in 6th).

No one got paid for it, but it was a little like taking AP college credit courses in high school: it taught elementary school kids leadership skills, responsibility (we officers assigned different patrols different posts, ie, corners), and supposedly looked good on later school transcripts.

It was a quasi-military mindset as well. I can still remember how the formation drill went:

"Fall in!

Ten hut!

Right face!

Platoon march!

(march close to the flag pole, where two other patrols are either raising or lowering the American flag)

Platoon halt!

Left face!



Parade rest!

Ten hut!


We officers also went to officer training camp for the summer. The barracks had to have been in the 1940s (think of Camp Arnold in Stripes, only not as large), and there was a canteen where we could buy snacks. It was a combination regular summer camp for kids and military training camp (without guns or other weapons).

It was actually quite fun (the regular patrol stuff, not the summer camp), and prestigious, because you were picked from the rabble to be a leader.

Sam Browne belt.

I was safety patrol in the 6th grade as well (in the 1970s). Didn’t get any benefit other than wearing the strap. Safety patrol only dealt with the area in direct sight of the school (crossing guards covered a few other nearby corners where kids might be expected to be crossing traffic).

At the elementary school near my house there’s an intersection with a four-way stop on one side, and an intersection with a subdivision side street on the other. The four-way has an adult guard who stops traffic to escort children. The side street has a safety patrol kid whose job seems to be telling kids to stop when a car is trying to turn on or off the street, as well as pushing the button on a nearby pedestrian walk signal.

It’s hard for me to wrap my brain around the world view that would ask these questions.

We had hall monitors with the cross-chest belt thingy. Kids readily volunteered and it was an honor to be given the responsibility. It felt good to be recognized and trusted by adults.

When I was in the 8th grade (1960) I went to a very old red brick multi-story Catholic school that was way past its prime. In fact classes were only held on the first floor, as the upper floors were condemned. There was electricity, but no electric bells. It was the responsibility of one of the boys in my class to ring the school bell. He had a watch, and a few seconds before the top of every hour, he would take the handbell off the shelf, step out into the hall, and ring the bell for the whole school. He was not paid. I believe he just retired after a career as a cardiologist.

We used to have this quaint little concept that we referred to as Civic Duty.

In the mid-50’s in grade school we had safety patrols. Due to the extreme backwardness of the city I lived in, only boys could be safety patrols.

I wasn’t the raving femi-nazi back then that people think I am today, so I let it slide.

You’ve already gotten some pie-in-the-sky polyanna responses about civic duty and being helpful. Back in my day, the tallest, beefiest, generally slowest reading 8th grader was more or less pressured into it by the the nun, and he made sure he bullied the scrawniest dorkiest kids around when given this whiff of authority.

Hrm … bitter much there Arkcon?

One can never be sure the exact date for each school, but, at some point, schools found out that giving this whif of authority, to children, based on physical size, was essentially a d-i-y Stanford Prison Experiment, if not outright Lord of the Flies.

In my day, it was rarer to see an older person as a a crossing guard, or a bus monitor (they appointed the second biggest, less responsible 8th grader for that task) than it is now. I’m guessing more people want to augment their non-existent retirement income, and schools make room in the subject to pay them something to babysit.

My district(I’m a teacher) still uses 5th graders, as does the neighboring district. They do have an adult out there as well.

My son will be a 5th grader this year and signed up to do it at the end of 4th grade so the outgoing 5th graders could give him a weeks training. He’s in the before and after school ran daycare so he’s there either way.
At the end of the school year the safety patrol takes a field trip to our local amusement park.

My daughter’s school is 1st-5th grade and they have kids doing it right in front of the school. It’s kind of a dangerous area IMO, lots of people (illegally) making U-turns, rolling stops, pulling out of (street) parking spots unexpectedly, not using signals etc. But they (under instruction I assume) never give anyone the go-ahead to cross the street until there aren’t cars anywhere near the intersection. Like either 100ish feet back or, at the very least, if there’s only one person stopped and they’re very clearly waiving the pedestrians through.
But, other than the 50% or so of kids that are crossing with their parent’s, they aren’t under any direct adult supervision.
At first, I kind of liked the idea. It would give these kids an idea as to A)the logic of an intersection (this person can turn left and that one can turn right at the same time while also B)teaching them how stupid drivers can be, especially when they’re in a hurry are are clearly ‘entitled’.
But I think that’s all lost on most 11 or 12 year olds.

I did it in 6th grade; we were called “safeties” back then. In addition to crossing kids outside of school, we were also assigned places in the hallways during dismissal to make sure kids weren’t running down the halls. Those of us riding yellow school buses helped the little kids down the steps and walked them across the street from the bus stops.

And we were dismissed a few minutes early from our last class.

And we got to board the bus first, and yell at kids to sit down while the bus was in motion. We also got to “report” kids who didn’t behave on the bus.

And we got to wear a bright orange belt / shoulder strap with a badge.