Many people think that a job is merely something that is nine to five, and within four walls, that can offer you health benefits as well as forty hours a week. There is more than just a paycheck to having a job. Being a crossing guard may in fact sound like something you do when there is nothing else to be hired for, however it is more than that. It is a position that fills you with pride and respect as you keep the youth safe as they wait for the bus and also load and unload off of the bus. True, it is only part time hours, however the respect that comes along with it is so worth it.
A crossing guard is not only a citizen that wants to see the children off to school safely, they are technically a representative of the police department or even a school district. In this day and age, children need guidance and discipline in and away from home, while parents are not always able to stand with their children at the bus stop, it is the crossing guard’s job to be the eyes and ears for the parents. It is a necessity to be able to achieve total support from the cars around you as you trust they stop when asked. They not only stand in sunny weather, they also work through rainy weather as well as snow and ice, when schools are open. Crossing guards are only hired to make sure that the children make it to school and home without any interference from the traffic. They are not required to direct traffic, unless trained to do so.
The duties of being a crossing guard are common sense to some people however they are important and should be taken seriously. They have to be able to multitask as well as keep their eyes and ears open to the road. They are also responsible to recognize and handle many other things, such as unsafe driving behaviors, unsafe behaviors of pedestrians, Rude parents, dealing with construction when needed, unsafe street conditions, Illegible or damaged signs, Suspicious activity, and Poor visibility.
Unsafe Driving Behavior
There is more to unsafe driving than speeding, it can also include talking on the cell phone, texting while driving and not paying attention to the road in front of them. Drivers who talk on the cell phone, are not able to pay close attention to anything that may run out or stop abruptly in front of them. Texting, another disruption, is something that can inhibit the driver from uninterrupted attention to the road. If they receive a text that angers them, they could develop road rage, if it is that important, pull over and handle it then.
Unsafe Behaviors of Pedestrians
There are people who just cannot wait for the roadway to become clear to cross, they insist on either crossing in the crosswalk without looking or jaywalk. There are also people who are in such a hurry that they run out into an intersection or road without looking, which is a risky action. The risk level depends more on where the action takes place, however nowadays danger happens everywhere for people who are walking around on the roadways. Others should not wear dark clothes at night, or if on a bicycle should have reflectors on the bike as well. There are some people who have been drinking (depending on the time of day) and walking out on the street, a reason alone for police to give people a citation. Another form of risky behavior is when those people do not respect either the crossing guard or the traffic light by listening to their signals.
Everywhere you go there are always a set of parents, we as crossing guards, can never see eye to eye with. If you are lucky that specific set of parents either drive their child to school or just avert any conversation with you. Every crossing guard should be able to handle the children that feel the need to talk back to you or disagree with your discipline, however when the parents get in your face you should report them to either your boss or the principal of the school to handle it.
Handling Construction Areas
Construction, although an inconvenience, is needed at times throughout the year and how you handle it can make it easier for both you and the construction workers. In movies you see construction workers whistle and make loud comments to anyone who will listen, however in real life it doesn’t happen very often. Construction workers are usually very nice people and will work with you if possible.
Unsafe Street Conditions
Many areas have different times where the township or city will be filling in potholes or divots in the road. Making the students well aware of any holes in the road as they are crossing is a great way to be alert as well as avoid the children to get hurt. Holes in the road are something that is uncontrollable to the crossing guards, they just need to work around them and hope they are filled in quickly.
There are many signs that drivers see while driving around on the roads. There are intersection signs, signs that show turning lanes, lanes narrowing signs, and many more. Without those signs in decent shape, motorists will not know what they mean. It is up to those who handle roadwork repairs to fix those signs, not the crossing guard, however they can call someone and inform them that signs need to be replaced.
It is up to the crossing guard to keep an eye on the area where they work. Day after day usually the same people travel past you on the way to work or home. If you are working as a crossing guard, it will be handy if you carry a notebook with you and can write down the license plate and description, if you come across a suspicious vehicle. If there are people that you have never seen before and they look suspicious , it is in your best interest to report them to the police.
Fog, as well as heavy rain can be a crossing guard’s worst environment for crossing kids in. Driving in fog is a great reason for many drivers to go slower, however many drivers do not slow down, and the same is in the rain. Rain can make the roads slick, as well as if there are leaves on the road. When crossing children, the crossing guards need to keep in mind that no matter how in control they believe they are, they need to give themselves a buffer of at least 3 minutes more stop time for the drivers that are around you in case they skid. Visibility issues are not only an issue with wet weather, there is also bright sun, and snow/ice combination also.
Crossing Guards are the advocate for the children they cross from the minute they leave their house, to the minute they reach the school property. Technically the students are the responsibility of the school from the minute they leave home, so their actions on the bus stop are still considered punishable by the school’s rules. The next time you are walking your child to the bus stop, take a look, a good look at the things that crossing guard does for you or your child while they are on the bus stop. They really put their lives at risk on a daily basis. It’s a shame some people ruin things by not respecting the role of a crossing guard by stating that it isn’t really a job. Being a crossing guard isn’t the easiest position, it takes a special person to do the job.