Safety Patrol

Towards the end of my days at Betsy Ross Elementary School, they started a Safety Patrol which consisted of students acting as crossing guards, doing what the adults do now. It was a pretty novel idea for its time in Baltimore, as it introduced the students to responsibility, authority, discipline and other traits. It also introduced the power aspect even among the kids who were involved with the Safety Patrol. As my brother Rick tells it, he was fired for being late one day by the teacher in charge of the Safety Patrol, with a little prodding by the acting Captain of the patrol. However, Rick says that a good buddy of his who was the Lieutenant at the time, got him hired back on the next day. He tells me that he and Charles hatched a plan to get the acting Captain at the time fired and have them take over the top two positions. Fortunately before Rick ventured into a life of crime, he decided that it wasn’t worth ‘offing’ the Captain to grab top spot and dropped out of the Safety Patrol.

It’s telling how even as young kids the power aspect comes into play. The movie ‘The Lord of the Flies” depicts how a group of boys left alone on a stranded island quickly develop a system of rules and authority and shows how even they as youngsters eventually descend into brutality, and chaos. It makes one wonder that left to their instincts, that any group might reveal traits of cunning, manipulation and power struggles? My brother Rick might agree.

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