Students at James Workman Middle School call her “Miss Crossing Guard Lady,” and she’s a very busy one. She directs traffic in front of the school all by herself.
Sally Descanso, whose daughter attends sixth grade, tries to explain why traffic near the school is horrendous. “Oh, maybe it’s just the first day of school,” she said.
School workers help the crossing guard direct traffic during the first few days of school only. But, some parents are concerned about the worker’s absence during the remainder of the school year.
Principal Brad Sauer says his staff become a huge liability when they are directing traffic. “Not only on ourselves, but also on the school district and the city because parents don’t always pay attention to the directing of the traffic. We want to make sure we’re not the cause of any accidents,” he said.
Bauer said his staff, however, will continue to ensure that students cross the streets safely.
Recently, the school made “robocalls” to parents explaining to them the traffic situation: “As you have noticed in the last couple of days, the traffic situation can get pretty bad. We ask you to please plan accordingly to compensate for traffic, and give yourself enough time to get your student to school,” the recorded message said. “We ask that you also set up a pick-up location with your student ahead of time — maybe a couple of streets away from school — to avoid the traffic.”
Miguel Gutierrez, father of two students, said he does not like the idea of dropping off his kids a few blocks away from campus. “They need to walk more [to school].”
To fuel parents’ frustration, they cannot drop off their kids directly in front of the school either. Barricades are positioned in front of the school’s cul-de-sac to prevent them from entering, and parents do not understand why.
The principal explained the direct access to the school’s front entrance actually creates more congestion than with the current flow that the school and the city set up. He said parents are strongly encouraged to drop off their children at the adjacent soccer park on 30th Ave.
News Channel 3 asked Gutierrez, the father of two students, why he did not drop off his kids at the soccer park. “Because I came late today,” he replied with a chuckle.
The school does not deny there is a traffic problem. They say if parents could just cooperate and change their routine, then students can continue to be safe.
The cooperation also might give Miss Crossing Guard Lady a little break.