So Minnesota: St. Paul nun created world's first school safety patrol

Updated: September 20, 2019 06:53 PM

Nearly a century ago, a nun at a Saint Paul Catholic school helped change the world.

The idea has kept generations of children safe traveling to and from school.


In 1921, Sister Carmela Hanggi created the world's first school safety patrol on the corner of Kellogg Boulevard and Summit Avenue in Saint Paul.

At the time, Sister Carmela was the principal at the now closed Cathedral school. She worried about children's safety crossing the street and came up with the idea for having kids become crossing guards.

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The idea quickly caught on, spreading across the city, nation and world.

"There are cities in Europe that have have this same system," Cathedral of Saint Paul archivist Celeste Raspanti said. "It's keeping our children safe. This is a legacy. We don't know how many thousands of children were saved by that."

Sister Carmela passed away in 1968, but her achievement will live on forever.

A flag pole with a plaque near the intersection commorates the divine idea.

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Joe Mazan

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