Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

November 3, 2013

Athens School needs crossing guard to ensure student safety

ATHENS —

Athens School wants a crossing guard, but neither the school nor the town of Athens can find anybody who wants the job.

Last year, the town discontinued the crossing guard position because it was unable to keep a person in the job, said Principal Phoebe Meadows. People hired for the job often would not show up for work.

“It’s an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon,” Meadows said. “People make more money with a part-time job.”

In the past, crossing guards would keep the position for years, but now finding somebody to be a crossing guard is not easy.

“I don’t know. People have to work more hours now,” Meadows said. “It may be a victim of the economy as much as anything.”

Parents are strongly encouraged not to drop off their children along State Street, and urged use a drop-off point in front of the school, Meadows said. Depending on the year, approximately 15 to 10 students walk to school. Parents often walk their children across the street, but a school crossing guard is still needed, she added.

“We even tried advertising from the school, and sent out a note asking if anybody would be able to work an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening for security guard post. Nobody ever responded. We announced it at PTO (Parent Teacher Organi-zation) meetings — there’s not a huge crowd at PTO — to see if anybody is interested in doing that and nobody has ever come forward.”

The town tried for nine months last year to find a crossing guard, said Mayor Carol Bard. Getting a person willing to report for work at approximately 7 a.m. and return at 2 p.m. is difficult. The town has even spoken to people who pay their bills at town hall. Concord University students were tried, but too many of them cannot fit the work hours into their class schedules.

“And some people don’t want to work,” she added.

“We had a crossing guard,” Bard said. “She was wonderful, she was reliable, but she finally retired. We haven’t been able to find anybody.”

School crossing guards are not employees of Mercer County Schools, said Assistant Superintendent Rick Ball.

“The ones out there that I’m aware of are employees of the municipalities,” Ball said. “We get one or two calls a year about a crossing guard. The public assumes it’s a board of education employee.”

— Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

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