ECOLE GRON MORGAN
Five students in lime green vests stand in front of École Gron Morgan. Trained as CAA School Safety Patrollers, these students act as gatekeepers at two pedestrian crossings on Marlborough Street. Patrollers watch for safe gaps in traffic and wave pedestrians through the crossings towards the school’s main entrance. Each morning they help dozens of families cross—even in winter, when Winter Walk Month runs throughout February and many families continue to travel actively no matter the weather.
Part of the Lakehead Public School Board, École Gron Morgan is one of the largest schools in Thunder Bay, with more than 700 students. Of these, 14 per cent use active transportation, such as walking or cycling, for their school journeys. A number of initiatives encourage families to choose commuting behaviours that are good for their health and the environment. The school boasts a Walking School Bus along Bay Street, signage along walking routes, and special events such as Winter Walk Month. These activities run year-round and keep Patrollers busy even on cold days.
“École Gron Morgan’s school community is very passionate about active transportation,” said EcoSuperior School Travel Planner Caroline Cox, who has worked with the school for two years. “I’ve heard from several parents that their kids are determined to walk to school—even when it’s very cold and the child has been offered a ride. The School Safety Patrol helps families and kids who walk arrive safely to the school’s door.”
The Patrollers, who were trained and began their duties in November, are the only Thunder Bay students to participate in the CAA School Safety Program, and they’re part of a long national history. Founded in 1929, the CAA School Safety Patrol has more than 100,000 elementary student volunteers throughout Canada. Patrollers are students in Grades 6 who encourage and model safe behaviour to other students and the community. They receive annual training and are supervised on-site by school staff.
“I feel like it’s important that kids cross the street safely and that they don’t just run across. I like to help out and be a Patroller because I like to do an important job and help make the community a safer place,” said Grade 6 École Gron Morgan student Mya Piper.
Students are trained by Walk Or Wheel Thunder Bay, a CAA-approved training partner. Walk Or Wheel Thunder Bay is co-led by EcoSuperior and the Thunder Bay District Health Unit and funded by Green Communities Canada and the Government of Ontario.