Crossing Guards prep for back to school with safety lesson
By LYNETTE SOWELL
Crossing guards for the Copperas Cove Independent School District have spent time this week preparing for their role in helping CCISD students across the street safely.
Leading the group of crossing guards, both new and experienced, was Elvira McRae, who has been a crossing guard for CCISD for 40 years.
She spent time giving those under her supervision a pep talk on Wednesday morning before the group practiced guarding the crosswalks at the intersection of South 5th Street and Veterans Avenue.
Paying attention to traffic and to the children at all times are givens for crossing guards.
“Our goals are to get them across safely and keep traffic moving,” McRae said.
She encouraged the crossing guards to notice something about each child every day, whether it is the clothing they are wearing, or their backpack. She also told them to say hello and introduce themselves to the parents and the students they will see morning and afternoon, five days a week.
Crossing guards work three hours per day, a total of 15 hours per week, and they will rotate to other locations as the need arises. Last year, McRae said when there were several vacancies, the district’s Transportation Department, led by Gary Elliott, who along with the maintenance staff stepped up to help.
McRae stressed safety when the students are crossing the streets: for example, skateboarders must carry skateboards, students with skates built into their shoes must walk across, and no bouncing of balls when crossing the street. Students on bicycles may ride them across Business 190, because that is such a short light, McRae said.
“Watch out for kids walking and reading books at the same time, and the same goes for the ones on their cell phones,” McRae said.
McRae told her fellow crossing guards that she began working for the district as a crossing guard to have a little “mad money.” When she started, she made $2.30 per hour. Eventually, she became a supervisor. Then she began a training program for the crossing guards.
“I don’t think anyone should get out in the street without training,” McRae said.
The crossing guards spent Wednesday morning practicing their skills for guiding pedestrians into a crosswalk, watching for traffic, and following the rules themselves—not stepping into the street until whoever held the stop sign instructed them to go.
With Monday, August 28 the first day of school at CCISD, the Copperas Cove Police Department issued a reminder that it, too, will be watching for student safety—especially where school zones are concerned.
There will be additional officers on duty working the morning and afternoon school zone areas, Sgt. Martin Ruiz with the Copperas Cove Police Department announced in a Thursday morning press release.
“The Copperas Cove Police Department would like to encourage all motorists to remain observant and drive safely while operating motor vehicles for the safety of our school children,” Ruiz said.
Drivers pulled over for speeding in school zones can be cited as $200. It’s also illegal to be on the phone to talk or text while driving through a school zone, something officers will also be watching for.
It is also a state offense to pass a school bus while its red lights are flashing and its stop sign is being displayed. According to Texas statutes, failure to stop could result in fines between $200 and $1,000 and possible loss of license. If someone is injured, the offense is classified as a state misdemeanor.