Tragedy in West Springfield puts crossing-guard safety in the news: Editorial

Category: In The News Published: Wednesday, 17 December 2014 Written by Admin

The death of a school crossing guard in West Springfield Monday is a tragic reminder of what should be on the minds of all motorists.

The guard was reportedly struck by an SUV at the corner of Elm and Garden Streets.

By mid-Monday, details were still being gathered by authorities, but the tragedy did put the spotlight on one of the most important jobs in any community, and one too often taken for granted.

The responsibilities of crossing guards are enormous. The municipal expense for their service is a pittance compared to the function they provide.

Crossing guards can tell stories about drivers hollering out for them to get a real job or some other remark designed either for humor or snarkiness as they pass by. This is very much a real job - a public safety position that requires agility, concentration and dedication in all types of weather and amid all types of traffic conditions.

Most citizens understand the importance of these people. It is not a full-time position, but during the times children are walking to and from school, no one in any community has a more important responsibility.

In a 1985 comedy, Lost in America, the position was the subject for humor as a fired yuppie advertising man (played by Albert Brooks) winds up settling for the only job he could find. He was a crossing guard, doing his task in a business suit with a frown while students give him a hard time.

Its a funny movie, but in the real word, the crossing guards job is of paramount importance and deserves not only the attention of motorists, but respect from everyone.

Those who do it are often the only persons that parents will trust to supervise their children outside of school on a normal day. The interaction lasts only a few seconds, but the accident in West Springfield reminds us of what is involved.

It might seem like belaboring the obvious to plead for all drivers to be aware of the guards and the children. But the West Springfield episode serves as a tragic reminder that this message can never be emphasized too passionately or too often, in every community where kids cross the street to attend school.

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