Contributed by Prince William County
Those who are crossing guards feel like it’s is a pretty good part-time job. They have the middle of the day free and they get to provide an important service in the mornings and afternoons as they watch over school children.
“They love their kids,” said Lt A. Marie Snyder who heads the Crossing Guard and Parking Enforcement Bureau for the Prince William County Police Department. “We have crossing guards who have been here 40 or more years. You don’t stay at a part-time job 40 years if you don’t love the job and love the people that you’re working with, and those are the children. A lot of them feel like this is the perfect job for them.”
Snyder, who started as a crossing guard in 1986, said crossing guards, generally retirees, usually stick to the same post and get to know everyone. “They stand on the corner. They chat with the kids. They learn their names and usually have a good rapport with all of their children. They see the same drivers every day so they’re very familiar with the area.”
In the 49 years that the Bureau has been in business, no child has been seriously injured. Snyder said that’s because the crossing guards follow procedure without fail. They keep children on the sidewalks until all cars are stopped and they don’t let cars move again until all children are across the street and safe again on the sidewalks “That’s a super record. We attribute it to our extreme protocols. We have safety protocols in place where guards do not allow any vehicle motion whatsoever when children are crossing the street. They don’t let the kids cross until the wheels stop moving. If there’s anything at all out of place, they don’t let them cross,”
Crossing guards also keep children away from the edges of the sidewalk, and the practice paid off last year when a driver cut a corner and drove up on the sidewalk, Snyder said.
With school starting soon, people should be reminded to be cautious, allow themselves extra driving time and know that the crossing guards are on guard.
She said parents should also remember that many of the County’s schools weren’t designed for children to be dropped off in front of their schools. “They need to plan ahead and leave early so that they’re not in a big rush when they get into the school zone. They’re going to be stopped and traffic is going to back up.”
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