Crossing guards are volunteers or staff that assist students across intersections near school grounds. Providing a crossing guard at a particularly busy or dangerous intersection can help ease parents’ concerns about safety, which often prohibit students from walking or bicycling to school.
Crossing guards may be hired by police departments, school districts, cities or counties. They can be employees of the local jurisdiction or individuals contracted through professional crossing guard companies. Teachers, parents, or other adults can also be trained to be volunteer crossing guards. Even older students can help out through safety patrol programs. The local police department often trains crossing guards. The Safe Routes to School National Partnership stresses in its Safe Routes to School Local Policy Guide that a successful crossing guard program have four essential elements:
- Clear locations and times
- Trained guards
- Identifying clothing and equipment
- A base level of ongoing funding
School officials may consider bringing city/county traffic engineers together with parents to identify locations where crossing guards are warranted and work with the police department to offer standard trainings for crossing guards district-wide.