Posted by: Debbie Abrams Kaplan | April 9, 2010

Crossing Guards

As I mentioned previously, our town (well, the whole state) is going through budget cuts. Our school system lost 90% of its federal funding, and the town lost funding too. One area they’re going to cut (cut back?) on is crossing guards. I was shocked to learn that our town employs 57 crossing guards. FIFTY SEVEN. They’re paid $20/hour by the police department. We see two of them daily on our walk to/from school. In winter, sometimes we were the only customers for one of the crossing guards.

I cracked up because in Foster City, CA, I’m guessing there were all of three crossing guards (if that), and I can tell you how many hours they worked. At our Foster City school, we had four intersections leading to the school. The crossing guard (who did something else at the school the rest of the day) was at one of the intersections (the same one daily) for 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes after school. She wasn’t there when kindergarten let out.  I don’t blame her – that was just an area our district (or police department) chose not to spend its money on.

The middle school had no crossing guard that I ever saw (just a lot of insane parents in cars). Here, a ton of middle schoolers walk home and there are crossing guards all along the way.

People here often hear me rant about the drivers on a street we cross to get to school (one with no crossing guard). There’s a crosswalk (new last year) and a yellow warning sign, but few drivers stop for us. I keep hoping the cops will park themselves at the end of our street and nab one of them.

In Foster City, there often was a police car at one of the intersections leading to school. Occasionally the cop would act as a crossing guard. Most of the time he cop just pulled people over. And I’m grateful for at least that, because the one time we almost got hit crossing the street, the cop was actually watching. That driver, in such a hurry to get to work after dropping off her precious child, kept honking at the car in front of her, then proceeded to pull into the busy intersection without looking. It was raining and dark, but we had been waiting there for several minutes. She almost hit Zack in the stroller, and Dori carrying her bright green umbrella. Yes, she got a ticket.

So I’ll be interested to see what happens with the crossing guards. We were shocked to see so many when we were driving around, looking at houses last year. I like to think that when my kids start walking to school on their own, there will be a crossing guard to help them along. Or, I guess, maybe they won’t be walking alone.


  1. I, too, was shocked at the number of crossing guards here. Coming from New York, I was also surprised by how many young children I saw walking and biking to school by themselves. I was dismayed to read in the Leader about the potential crossing guard cuts (did they mean all of them?), especially when there seems to be a strong culture here of children walking and biking to school.

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