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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Press Release: Crossing Guards Urge Somerville Officials to Implement Safety Measures

Press Release

For immediate release: September 6, 2012
For more info, contact: Rand Wilson (SEIU Local 888)

Crossing Guards Urge Somerville Officials to Implement Safety Measures

Last May, Marie Stewart – a school crossing guard in Everett, MA – died doing what she loved: protecting children on their way to and from school.

As children in Somerville and across the state return to school, it is vitally important to highlight the importance of workplace protections that should be in place to protect crossing guards and to create safe school walking routes for children.

Recommendations issued in a 2009 report by the Massachusetts Dept. of Public Health as a result of a similar fatality included:

· Developing a school route plan that meets standards in the national Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) and Massachusetts State laws;
· Ensuring that school crosswalks are clearly visible to motorists and that crossing guards are provided with adequate equipment such as well-designed "stop" paddles, warning signage and reflective clothing that is appropriate for all seasons,
· Annual safety training.

Somerville school officials should be working now to make sure that these safety measures are in place as the school year gets underway.

Crossing guards from several communities met today with safety experts from the Massachusetts Coalition on Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH) to share safety concerns and learn about what measures cities and towns are required to take to protect them while they are on the job.

"Motorists need to be reminded that we are in the street to protect the children," said Joe Lyons, a crossing guard leader with 14 years' experience in Somerville. "When you see a crossing guard, be alert because children are nearby. Understand the traffic laws regarding school buses and crosswalks – and obey them!"

"Far too many crossing guards return home from work to tell their loved ones, 'I almost got hit today,'" said Ed Grandmont, another crossing guard from Somerville. "No school crossing guard should have this fear when they go to work each day."


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to say, some crossing guards are part of the problem; and/or have not had sufficient training.

Two observations in recent years.

1)---Guards holding conversations one on one with an adult, when all their attention should of been on traffic and/or approaching children.

2)---Guards too eager to stop approaching "arms length" vehicles when common sense says to let the vehicles go by first, and then put up the stop signal when the nearest oncoming vehicles have ample opportunity to safely see the stop signal and can safely come to a stop. [I say "arm's length" to make a point]

I would guess some of those guards who go home and exclaim...."I almost got hit today".... are guilty of contributing to the problem by some degree.

Then of course THERE ARE stupid drivers who even put people on sidewalks in harm's way once control of their vehicle is lost.

Brendan said...

Having been a crossing guard in Somerville in the late 70's and early 80's, one of the things I remember most from the instructions we got from the police is that we were not there to direct traffic and to make use of traffic lights if we were at a cross walk that had them. The crossing guards at the Powder House rotary need to be reminded of this. Stopping cars just after the red light and walk sign go off because one person showed up is not going to help make drivers sympathetic to you.

Anonymous said...

Having been a crossing guard in Somerville in the late 70's and early 80's, I distinctly remember the office instructing us that we were not there to direct traffic and that if we had lights at our cross walk we should work with them and make sure students waiting for the walk light. I think people would be more sympathetic to crossing guards if they remembered this. Specifically the ones who work Powder House rotary and seem to enjoy stopping traffic for the one person who arrived right after the walk light ends.

Anonymous said...

Saw it again yesterday.

School crossing guard holding an extended, face to face, conversation with two adults while kids were crossing.

What needs to be "implemented" is common sense on the part of some crossing guards.