LB student wins regional safety monitor award
Lord Baltimore Elementary School fifth-grade student Ryan Walter is one of many safety monitors at schools across the country, but he was one of a select few recognized this year for extraordinary dedication by the AAA School Safety Patrol.
In May, Walter was the first Sussex County safety monitor honored by the Mid-Atlantic Foundation for Safety and Education.
Rich Lee, Lord Baltimore Elementary School’s safety intervention officer, nominated Walter for an incident the young man handled on the bus around New Year’s.
A student was becoming disruptive, distracting the driver and upsetting other children. Walter stepped in to diffuse the situation, Lee said, calming the disruptive student and comforting the distressed child.
Of 18 winners in the annual program, most were from the Philadelphia and New Castle, Del., areas.
Walter, his parents and Lee attended an awards luncheon with other winners in Philadelphia, Pa. The master of ceremonies was Merrill Reese, announcer for the Philadelphia Eagles football team.
Walter won a patrol belt with gold badge, $150 in savings bonds, a plaque and a hat. At home, he also received a commendation from State Rep. Gerald Hocker.
Lord Baltimore’s bus monitor program has just concluded its third year. Lee said bus monitors assist the drivers, who must focus on driving. The student monitors help to resolve minor incidents or bring misbehavior to the drivers’ attention.
Nine safety monitors oversaw Lord Baltimore buses this year. The fifth-graders are carefully chosen and trained, and they must maintain exceptional behavior themselves.
Lee said he has received many compliments about the safety monitors, whom he called valuable assets to the school.
“It teaches you how to handle a little authority and responsibility,” Lee said, proudly noting that Walter is very mature, took his role seriously and did well throughout the year.
“You get to have a chance to show yourself that you’re worthy, help others in the community and stop anything bad happening,” Walter said.
Walter said he sees a future of service on his horizon. He plans to attend fire school and become a junior member of the local fire department as a teenager. His father is a member of Millville Volunteer Fire Company, and his aunt is part of the MVFC’s fire police.
Walter is also involved in baseball, football and martial arts.
Lee was also a safety patrol member in his school days, before he became a police officer for 30 years. He said he hopes other schools will join the safety monitor program. Schools provide a coordinator, and AAA sponsors and supplies the program, free of charge.