Guest Op-Ed: More school crossing guards can help protect our children


Every school day, we place our youngsters in the relative safety of a school building, in hope for a brighter future for them. However, in order to get to that safe place and acquire the skills and knowledge that will allow them to succeed, they first must get to that building.

Often, schoolchildren in this city are forced to take mass transit or walk to school. That walk or ride can result in them crossing some dangerous streets. Nothing is more important than the safety and well-being of our children, for while they are a mere 20 percent of our population, they are 100 percent of our future.

That is why I recently joined Assemblymember Michael DenDekker to sponsor legislation increasing the presence of school crossing guards in New York City in the wake of the tragic deaths of three schoolchildren in traffic-related accidents.

This legislation would require a school crossing guard be placed on each corner of a city block on which there is a public or private schools with students enrolled in grades K-8, with additional crossing guards on the opposite corners of these intersections if the roadway has four or more traffic lanes.

In December 2012, 11-year-old Miguel Torres was struck by a truck and killed while crossing at 80th Street and Northern Boulevard. Almost exactly a year later, eight-year-old Noshat Nahian was struck and killed at 61st Street and Northern Boulevard. In both instances, the children crossing the street were unattended.

On June 29, 2011 in my district, Aniya Williams, 13, was struck and killed as she crossed Goethals Road North at South Avenue in Mariners Harbor, to catch a city bus; that corner was also unattended by a crossing guard.

This legislation furthers my commitment to our children. Crossing guards play an essential role in keeping students safe while walking to school, and children also look to them for security on dangerous city streets.

In 2013, 173 pedestrians were killed in traffic-related accidents in New York City. Currently, there are no requirements for additional crossing guards in high-traffic areas bordering schools. This must end and this bill will end unattended school crossings.

It is a dangerous enough world out there for our children. At least, getting to and from school, there should be a safety net of professionals looking out for our kids.

State Senator Diane Savino represents portions of Staten Island and Brooklyn

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