Monday, February 23, 2009

Patrol Pledge.

Not long ago, I made a reference to the "patrol pledge" among friends and got blank stares. "Weren't any of you guys safety patrols in school?" I said.

"No. What's a safety patrol?"

The more I tried to explain, the dorkier it sounded: Well, in grade school you could apply to be a patrol and if you got it, you wore an orange belt with a badge on it and would get off the school bus and wave kids across the street when they were boarding and exiting.

It was a desirable position. Really!

I mean, not just anyone could be a safety patrol. You had to have good grades and a flawless obedience record.

Okay, it was dorky.

But still, I was psyched to be a patrol in (I think) fifth grade. First, there was the belt, which to me connoted leadership and also was an additional accessory that needed to be cared for and folded properly. Second, you got to sit at the front of the bus at all times, which I liked to do because the view from the big front window was much better than from the sides, and also I liked Mrs. Kidd, the bus driver. Finally, it felt pretty official to be helping kids cross the street and, most importantly, reciting the Patrol Pledge:

I promise to do my best to:
·report for duty on time
·perform my duties faithfully
·strive to prevent accidents
·always set a good example
·obey my teachers and officers of the patrol
·report dangerous practices of students and
·strive to earn the respect of fellow students.

Between this and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, I was doing a lot of pledging on a regular basis in grade school. And you know what? I like the Patrol Pledge. I still think it's a good idea to report for duty on time, perform my duties faithfully, strive to prevent accidents, always set a good example and strive to earn the respect of my fellow humans. Not sure about obeying the authorities or snitching on dangerous behavior, but I'm sure in some cases that makes sense too.

Any fellow patrol alumni out there? Anyone?

Music: "Goody Two Shoes"


  1. Anonymous9:08 AM

    I was a patrol trainee but decided to leave the force when I was obliged to memorize the patrol pledge and a list of 15 "reminders." Also, one day I was on my post and the advisor of the patrols, a teacher with impossibly high hairsprayed dos and silk dresses, who never walked anywhere, drove by in her Cutlass and took me to task for tying my shoe while I was on duty. When there were no kids around for miles. I decided I didn't need that proto-fascist presence in my life. A good life lesson learned early on!

  2. Anonymous10:14 AM

    my brother was a safety patrol, and a terrible one at that. He was suspended from the patrol (gasp!) for a period for swearing in front of the other children. That, and he let his little sis (me) do pretty much whatever she wanted which is always a mistake. mwuhahahaha

  3. Oh wow. I think the reminders sound familiar but can't be sure. Love it.

  4. Anonymous9:08 PM

    We didn't have safety patrol at my grade school, but my son's school does have it. The primary job is to help the kindergarteners off the bus and to their classes.

    My son thinks they are pretty cool.

  5. Anonymous8:47 PM

    Okay, since "respect" these days seem to be overrated, I will jump in Sis and shout "YES!" I've got two patrol children who love being a patrol and you know what? The pledge is great and strives to encourage good behavior and sound conduct! Sorry for all the proto-fascist or overly conceited people out there that provide miserable experiences all throughout life, but you know what? We could use some good behavior and sound conduct in our schools these days! Do bad attitudes and bullying others really get us anywhere in life? Seems to me, we should have more support for healthy character through more activism. Seen enough kids die in car accidents, commit suicide or grow up dreaming only to get a divorice, ruin their kids life, or not ever really get anywhere succeeding at nothing? I am. I care about more than just "myself".

    Thanks for posting this.

  6. I was a safety patrol, and I was probably just as dorky as you. Did you ever mix up the pledge with the preamble to the constitution? I ALWAYS did that as a kid. My pledge was:

    I promise to do my best to:
    - report for duty on time
    - perform my duties faithfully
    - strive to prevent accidents
    - provide for the common defense
    - promote the general welfare
    - and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution of the United States of Patrols.

    Yeah. I wasn't a very GOOD patrol =P



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