Concern for the children who will be crossing untended intersections on their way to school this fall has spurred the union representing crossing guards in HRM to write to schools and councillors in the affected areas.
“Risking even one child’s life is not worth the small amount of money that the city will save by cutting crossing guards,” says CUPE Local 4814 President Glenna Casavechia, referring to the decision by Halifax Regional Police to cut crossing guards at eight school intersections.
The local has written to school principals to make sure they are aware of the decision to cut crossing guards, and to ask school communities to discuss the impact of these cuts with their councillors and school board representatives.
They are also asking city councillors to revisit the decision at the next council meeting, September 9.
CUPE National Representative Tammy Provost says that the methods used by HRP to assess the crosswalks are outdated. “HRP used an 18-year-old formula – one that does not take into account the increase in speeding and in distractions, such as texting and cell phone use,” she says. “They also did not consult crossing guards, and did the assessments over two days in the winter months, days when school foot traffic might have been down.
“Closing these crossing sites could put 40 or more children at risk of getting hit,” she adds. “In the first five months of this year alone, there were 97 car-pedestrian accidents in HRM.”
The amount that the city will save by cutting school crossing guards is around $70,000.
The schools affected by these cuts include: Mount Edward, Michael Wallace and Colby Village in Dartmouth; St. Stephen’s, Rockingham and Inglis Street in Halifax; and Sycamore Lane and Grosvenor-Wentworth in Bedford-Sackville.