To help ensure the safety of children traveling back and forth to classes during the school year, NYS Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. has introduced legislation (S.5519) that would require crossing guards to be placed on each and every corner of New York City blocks that contain public or private high schools during student arrival and dismissal times.
“During the academic year, the lives of well over one million New York City school children hang in the balance as students travel back and forth for classes on local streets, and crossing guards are absolutely invaluable to ensuring the safety of these young people,” said Addabbo, a long-time member of the Senate Education Committee. “In recent years, a number of innocent children have been struck and killed on their way to school, and adding more crossing guards around education facilities would help to prevent this kind of devastating and unnecessary heartbreak.”
Addabbo is also a co-sponsor of legislation (S.359) to increase crossing guards around New York City elementary and intermediate schools educating children in grades kindergarten through eight. His new bill, which would cover students in grades nine through 12, seeks to provide for hiring additional crossing guards for even greater coverage for all of New York City’s school children. “This bill would not only improve the safety of our high school students but would also create jobs. It’s a win-win for our city,” Addabbo stated.
“Earlier this year, the City administration announced Vision Zero funding that would commit $25 million over four years to hiring 300 new crossing guards, including 200 part-time guards, 100 supervisors, and a mobile team to cover absences at guard posts throughout the five boroughs,” Addabbo said. “I appreciate this effort, but I would like to see this expansion implemented more efficiently to provide maximum protection for our children walking back and forth to class through busy intersections. 2020 is a long way down the road, and some of our local thoroughfares are already extremely dangerous for school children and others to travel.”
In 2015, there were approximately 2,300 crossing guard posts throughout the five boroughs, although vacancies were reported to be as high as 200. Since then, the City and Local 372, the crossing guard union, have come to an agreement to raise pay for crossing guards and make other reforms to draw interested candidates to the field.
The Senator mentioned he had Jazmin Marin, a student fatally struck by a vehicle while crossing Cross Bay Boulevard last Fall, in mind when introducing this bill. “In 2015, 134 pedestrians lost their lives in traffic crashes in New York City,” said Addabbo. “This is a welcome reduction from previous years, but we have more work to do to protect our residents, and especially our children, from injury and death while they are crossing our neighborhood streets. Boosting the presence of crossing guards around all of our private and public schools is an important part of that equation.”
In the Assembly, the bill is being introduced by Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato. "Seven months ago, a 14-year-old girl with a sunny disposition and a bright future was killed going across Cross Bay Boulevard. If there'd been enough crossing guard coverage, Mr. Marin might not have lost his daughter. I've been working to get better signage in the area, and I'm so glad to join Senator Addabbo today as we introduce a bill to ensure that this never, ever happens again,” Pheffer Amato stated. "Crossing guards are an obvious need, and broad coverage - which, per this new bill, will be every corner of a high school and opposite corners for large roads, like we have in our district - is a must. We must see this bill through to the Governor's signature because every parent in NYS deserves for their child to have reasonable protections if they have to cross the street to get to school."