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LANGLEY, B.C. School children soon will be on their own as they travel to and from school, because the school district and township have agreed to eliminate 25 crossing guards, CUPE says.

Using a traffic warrant study to justify it, School District 35 trustees have decided to spend $287,000 to eliminate $178,000 worth of crossing guards.

This study was not about creating safe streets for children on their way to school, said Donna Mason, president of CUPE Local 1260. It was a justification for cutting money from the school district budget.

The school district has made it clear that it wants out of the crosswalk supervision business. It has continually complained that it cannot afford crosswalk supervision because of a $500,000 shortfall in its 2001/02 budget.

It is a sad day when a school district puts budget savings ahead of childrens safety, Mason added. Crossing guards were put on street corners in Langley because heavy traffic made for unsafe conditions. Now all of a sudden a traffic warrant study says its safe. Who are we to believe?

CUPE has made several representations to the school district, requesting that the cost of keeping crossing guards is a small price to pay for the safety of children. The district reported that the total cost of keeping 30 crossing guards in place this year was $135,000.

We want the crossing guards reinstated for the sake of our childrens safety, Mason said.


Contact: Donna Mason, CUPE Local 1260 President, 604-888-3033.