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Crossing Guards Urge Somerville Officials to Implement Safety Measures

As the school year gets underway, crossing guards met today with safety experts to learn about what measures cities and towns are required to take to protect them while they are on the job.

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."

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Michelle Sousa September 09, 2012 at 04:57 PM
My kids go to the West Somerville Neighborhood School and I always see the crossing guards around there obeying the lights and making sure the kids wait. Especially the guy who stands at the corner of Powderhouse Blvd and North St. Sometimes they'll be a huge crowd of kids but he still waits for the light cycle. Unfortunately, the crosswalk in front of the school doesn't have a set of lights, and I also have witnessed on way too many occasions, the crossing guard almost being struck. I've NEVER seen them just jump out in front of cars and hold up their STOP sign, expecting motorists to just come to a screeching halt. They do wait for cars to go by before putting up the sign and they always tell the kids and parents to wait on the sidewalk until it's safe. Some people just don't have any consideration and don't respect the crossing guard. I've seen them almost get hit, and cars LITERALLY try to drive around them while there waving kids to cross. I think they do an awesome job and more safety measures should be put into place to protect them and our kids.
Jason September 09, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Hats off to the folks in the cross walks. It's gotta be tuff. Especially when you consider they are esentially flag men. A we know the general attitude towards those folks. But one item of concern. Not long ago I did see a crossing guard on their cell phone while on duty....and not standing waiting for customers...actually they where engaged in their duties in the cross walk, and answering a call..at powder house rotary I mite add. If we are to respect their positions, they need to step up be present in their job. A call can wait.
Courtney O'Keefe September 10, 2012 at 05:48 PM
That would be difficult, time wise, to coordinate between assisting the children and then trying to photograph a car that is probably long gone by the time they setup for a cell phone photo. I do, however, like where you're going with this...small video cameras at the intersections? I'd like to see if there was a Federal grant to install them. Our police department has an excellent history of landing Federal grant money for other initiatives and equipment.
Jason September 10, 2012 at 08:39 PM
So today, at evergreen and school, i see apair of guards, assumablynworking "together"?! I observe one guard in the middle of school st, with only a vest on and holding up his arms like Jesus maybe trying to stop traffic...zoom.... Goes a car. I approach the intersection and observe the jeebus guard simply standing in the road...not moving to the corner after his customer has passed...simply standing in the middle of the road....the second guard was leaning on his vehicle, suv, with a stop sign in hand, watching the other guard do his jeebus pose with zero effect. He shrugged when he. Blown by, by not one but two cars. I mentioned to them they may want to actually use the stop sign as opposed to just have it nearby.. Whiskey tango foxtrot....how but some better ojt or some gi issue common sense. I do want to see them or some kids smeared on the pavement because they cont figure out to drive a stop sign. Training day!
Jason September 10, 2012 at 08:40 PM
" don't " I meant don't up there"!!! Don't want to see them smeared!

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