COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - As students head back to school Monday, Colorado Springs School District 11 said it’s looking to add more crossing guards to its fleet.
“They are out there every morning and every afternoon rain or shine, hail, whatever, and they’re trying to keep these kids alive,” said Rick Stull, D-11’s risk management crossing guard trainer. “They’re doing a good job.”
He said he currently has about 80 crossing guards but would like to have around 100 on staff.
“You have to keep in mind that some of them call in sick, some of them can’t, for one reason or another, can’t make their crossing that day,” Stull said. “So we have to have backups.”
He said the guards are vital to making sure cross walks are safe for students, but responsibility also falls on drivers.
“This could all go away if the motorists would just obey the law, not be aggressive, not be angry, not be in a hurry, not be distracted. It would solve the problem,” Stull said. “I would ask all drivers to please be aware of school crossings, of kids, of crossing guards.”
Joe Craven has been a crossing guard with D-11 for about 5 years. He said he’s scared for his own life sometimes.
“Two hundred pounds against 4,000 pounds is not good odds. Sixty pounds against 4,000 pounds is no odds,” Craven said. “These parents and these drivers have got to slow down in the school zones.”
He said he sees people speeding through school zones almost every day when he’s working. He also sees a lot of people trying to turn while kids are still crossing the street.
“If I’ve got kids out there, that means stop. If I’ve got the sign up, that means stop. And yet when they see the sign that means, ‘OK, maybe I can scoot through here between him and the curb,’” Craven said. “They don’t care whether there’s kids or not.”
He said a driver hit a girl this school year doing just that. A driver also hit four students at James Monroe Elementary School in D-11 about two years ago.
“It was a very traumatic time for the school, for the city,” Stull said. “Luckily, all the kids recovered, but we don’t want to go through that again.”
In cases when D-11 doesn’t have enough crossing guards, Stull said he moves them around so busy intersections, like near Monroe Elementary, are staffed.
All crossing guards go through training before they start working. As part of the job, crossing guards can write a complaint and notify police if drivers break the law. They just need to record the license plate number and description of the driver. Police can then write that driver a ticket.
Stull said his crossing guards rarely do that. They just want drivers to be safe.
“If the crossing guards had the power to cite drivers for traffic violations, they would be writing traffic tickets every day. Multiple tickets every day,” Stull said.
Craven said he has a simple message for drivers going through school zones.
“Slow down,” he said. “You’re not in a freeway. If you didn’t leave for work on time, then don’t try to make it up in the school zone. Just slow down. Take your time. Leave 2 minutes earlier, and you’ll be there on time.”
People interested in being a crossing guard can apply online.