The shortage that is putting the community’s safety at risk

This+is+the+crossing+guard+that+protects+students+going+to+and+from+Edison+Intermediate+School.

This is the crossing guard that protects students going to and from Edison Intermediate School.

Chloe Stadlin and Kayla Edelson

Imagine you are walking to school, the chill from the air sweeps across your face, making you shiver. It’s 8:05 in the morning and you need to be in the building in about two minutes. There is still one more street to cross in order to make it safely on time into the building. There is an immense amount of traffic and without hesitation you run across the street. As this is happening, a car comes to a short stop right in front of you. Your heart is practically beating out of your chest.

 There is currently a crossing guard shortage causing students who walk to school to be placed in an extremely unsafe position. It has always been difficult to find people who will take on the job of being a crossing guard and ever since the pandemic, it is harder than ever. Many people have found jobs where they make more money from home, so not many want to wake up early, stand in the cold, and be put in dangerous circumstances where they are under-appreciated by the general public. Overall, the current crossing guard shortage can create an unsafe environment for the majority of people within the community. 

This proves that especially in our town, this shortage is now causing other people to take on a role that is not theirs, leaving their other job behind. In the video from NBC New York entitled Crossing Guard Shortage Hits New Jersey, it stated, in Ridgewood this year, nine out of 31 crossing guards quit. This is because so many people have found ways to work at home so they don’t need to leave their homes, and it is causing a lot of places to be understaffed (NBC New York). This illuminates the idea that because of the pandemic, crossing guards have quit their job and often feel under-appreciated. Due to this, our safety is put at risk. 

Many students and parents feel as though without crossing guards, it is dangerous to walk to and from school.  Eighth grade Language Arts teacher at Edison Intermediate School (EIS) Mrs. Erin Meade has a daughter at Roosevelt Intermediate School (RIS) and is greatly bothered by the current situation. She explained, “I have strong feelings on crossing guards. My daughter goes to Roosevelt Intermediate School and when I drop her off a few blocks from her school, sometimes there are no crossing guards. This makes me worried for my daughter’s safety.” 

This shows that many parents are beginning to feel uncomfortable with even dropping their children off at school. School is especially an environment where safety is key and without crossing guards, safety is not guaranteed.

Also, parents may stop allowing their children to walk to school which can take away from their time to exercise. In addition, eighth grade student at EIS, Tyler Naesetch stated, “When I go home from school, I walk and I constantly go past crossing guards. They make me feel safe because they’re able to insure my safety and make me feel like I will be safe crossing the street. I feel that they should be able to be funded more by the government in order to enforce our safety walking to and from home. There are a lot of accidents that go on throughout the years. Their job is to protect us. ” 

Due to the current crossing guard shortage, many police officers and other people with a variety of different jobs are forced to take their role. In the article Westfield Chief: Town May Need to Cut More Crossing Guard Posts from TAPinto Westfield, Chief Christopher Battiloro commented, “The seven officers on duty were all covering crossing guard posts…To see this afternoon that there wasn’t a single police officer available in the afternoon is extremely disconcerting.”

Overall, without having crossing guards to protect us, our community is becoming an unsafe environment for many people, especially pedestrians. With this being said, when you see a crossing guard, don’t forget to say thank you because without them, everyone’s well being is at risk. In addition, if you are a driver and there aren’t any crossing guards, make sure to look both ways and check that nobody is crossing the street. A life without crossing guards is like going on a bike ride without a helmet.