Of all the topics discussed at Community District Education Council 22’s (CEC 22) virtual meeting on Tuesday evening, March 7th, the disconcerting fact that there is a citywide shortage of NYPD school crossing guards was by far the most pressing issue the District has faced in quite some time, one they are tackling head-on.
The statistics are easy to find. As one analysis of the data conducted by streetblog.org determined, on school days, streets near schools are more dangerous than other streets, with 57% more crashes and 25% more injuries per mile. They report that at drop-off and pickup times, there is a crash every 17 minutes and an injury every 72 minutes, which illustrates both the dire need for crossing guards and the tremendous danger in which the unsung heroes place themselves in order to protect others.
School crossing guards oversee and control traffic flow around schools in the morning, at lunchtime and at the end of the school day. At $15.45 per hour part-time, these brave men and women certainly aren’t in it for the money. They stand in traffic in all kinds of weather to keep the community safe and as members of the group argue, the incentive just isn’t there. They believe that if the hourly wage were raised to a level that recognized the contribution these individuals make and was commensurate with the level of risk to their personal safety, it would be easier for the NYPD to attract new recruits. As it is, there are not enough crossing guards to go around, so when one is absent, there is no replacement available to stand in.
The group penned a meaningful resolution that they read aloud at the meeting, urging those with the power to make the changes necessary to improve the working conditions for school crossing guards. District 22 Superintendent Julia Bove shared their sentiment and explained that she and other members of the group had used their recent Legislative Dinner as an opportunity to raise their concerns with local elected officials who do have the influence and connections required to prioritize such change.
The next meeting of CEC 22 will be held via Zoom on Tuesday, April 4th at 6:30 p.m.