EDITORIAL: Community might be key with crossing guard program

Published 8:06 am Thursday, September 24, 2009

When crossing guards failed to show up on their usual street corners at the start of school, it was obvious that it was a problem that needed to be addressed. We were glad to learn this week that the city and school have a plan to transfer responsibility— and most of the cost — for the crossing guard program to the school district. We hope also that the change will be the impetus for a plan to make the crossing guards a community-supported program.

There is little doubt that crossing guards are a useful service at several key intersections around the city. The prospect of young elementary students making their own crossing decisions during one of the day’s busiest traffic periods is any parent’s nightmare. And it also seems appropriate that the school district sees to it that the service is provided, just as it sees to the bussing of rural students.

That being said, few programs seem a better opportunity for community involvement.

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Over the long term, the crossing guard service —which at $13,000 per year is minimally expensive for the value it provides —could well be supported by a parent organization, at least in part. It is also a service that could be volunteer-driven.

It’s important that crossing guards be in place. It is also important that this changing of the guard provide an opportunity to explore new methods of providing the service.