SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Elementary school student crossing guards were back “on the job” at Commodore Sloat Elementary School in San Francisco on Monday, following a more than three year hiatus.
More than 20 young elementary students on Monday held stop signs and directed traffic along Darien Way under the supervision of a police officer. The program will also be implemented at Alice Fong Yu Alternative School and Lakeshore Elementary School.
It’s a twist on an old icon, said Commodore Sloat Principal Greg John, with kids holding the stop signs instead of adults. “We observed that when children were out here doing crossing guard work, grown-ups behave better,” he said.
San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Richard Carranza speaks from experience as a former crossing guard.
He said that students crossing guards get a bit of a power rush when they gear up, “I got to put my belt on for the first time, and I got my sign,” he said, recalling his days as a crossing guard. “And I could actually stop traffic.”
John said too many drivers were not stopping safely near Commodore Sloat, as kids arrive and leave from school.
“We want to make sure that every part of that journey is as safe as possible. Parents are distracted as they have kids, and it’s a busy life,” John said. “And this intersection has been a bit challenging at times.
The renewed focus on pedestrian safety comes after a rash of fatal vehicle versus pedestrian collisions in San Francisco.
The school crossing guard program faded away citywide in 2010, after AAA moved out of its San Francisco headquarters, but AAA is now providing the neon green hats, sashes and badges that will be worn by the young guards.
San Francisco Supervisor Norman Yee, who helped secure funding to pay for the adult supervisors, said he hopes success at these initial schools will spur others to become involved in the youth program.
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