The Public Safety Academy is a public school in the Fairfield-Suisun school district of California. It is the partial brainchild of Fairfield’s former cheif of police, Walt Tibbet. The 5th - 12th grade students, referred to as cadets, attend a three day boot camp before enrolling, wear uniforms (some with insignias marking them as captains, commanders or lieutenants) and address all adults as sir or ma’am. Many are studying to be cops, firefighters, paramedics and search-and-rescue workers, although when asked, most students said they weren’t planning to go into public service. Dubbed the School of Choice, the academy is a public education experiment: in exchange for submitting to extra discipline, the students get an education tailored to a particular vocation in addition to the normal state-mandated curriculum.  Assembling in formation at 7:45 each morning, the students recite the pledge of allegiance and the school creed: “I strive to achieve academic excellence. I exemplify high moral character. I work diligently to prepare for the future. I know that my success in school and life is dependent on my own efforts.”

Photographed for San Francisco Magazine