Thursday, November 14, 2013

Crossing Guard

Look up crossing guard on Google and most definitions refer to an individual who helps others across intersections near school.  The Free Dictionary by Farlex defines a crossing guard as:
  • a person who stands at a street crossing to assist children to cross the street safely; - usually used near schools during the times that children are entering or leaving the school.

Crossing Guard from Snakes on Vimeo.

That is exactly what I do every Wednesday morning from 7:45am to 8:05am.  I am a crossing guard at Coal Creek Elementary School in Louisville, Colorado.  I have had this job for 4 years now and plan on continuing for another 6 years until my youngest has moved on to middle school.  That will be over 10 years of service volunteering just 20 minutes of my time a week.  Despite the little time investment, these 20 minutes of my day as a crossing guard are probably my most important job of the week.  

Ready to go!
I work as an environmental consultant for a firm that permits large projects for the energy industry.  We are trusted with developing plans, conducting analyses, and obtaining permits for some of the largest energy providers and infrastructure construction firms in the world.  I take this job very seriously but it is nowhere nearly as important as my 20 minutes as a crossing guard.

I also serve as the Executive Director of a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization - the Center for Snake Conservation.  My role here is extremely overwhelming and my tasks include budgeting, planning and presenting education programs, and conducting snake inventories across the country in addition to being available to the public to answer any snake questions.  Despite the enjoyment and craziness of this job, its importance does not compare to my time as a crossing guard on Wednesdays.

So crossing guard days are very different from my other days.  Most mornings I am up before or at 5:00am, shower, give Heather a quiet kiss to start her day of right, drive, run, or bike to the bus stop, bus into Denver, and get to work between 6:00 and 6:30am.  An early start so that I can get home at 4:30pm at the latest to pick our boys and get home by 5:00pm to make dinner for the family.  Crossing guard days are my sleep-in days.  I sleep-in to 6:45am and get up with the rest of the family.  I get a normal breakfast with my boys (always loud and insanely crazy), feed the dogs, and say a proper goodbye to Heather.  Then the work starts!

I get to the school at 7:40am and grab my safety vest and stop sign.  It doesn't matter if it is hot, cold, rainy, full sun, dark, or light.  I am ready at 7:45am for the onslaught of kids and their parents.  Just think about me, ready to go in my safety vest and stop sign.  There is no job more important than crossing guard.

My friend Colin crossing with his electric bass and amp.
Colin safely across.

There are all sorts of kids and parents.  Some don't wait for me to fully get out into the street and stop the cars.  These are typically parents who are already late to work and rushing to drop off their kids.  There are the kids that bike way ahead of their parents on the way to school but wait patiently for them to reach the crosswalk before crossing.  There are the friendly kids and parents that ALWAYS say thank you.  There are the moms that give me looks that could potentially be construed as inappropriate (or is that just my imagination? - don't tell Heather).  There are the dads that don't get off their bikes and ride across the crosswalk setting horrible examples for their children.  Talk about bad examples - over half of the parents that ride their bikes to the school with their kids DO NOT WEAR THEIR HELMETS!  WTF!  My kids love to see these parents as they will call them out loud enough for it to be heard (I am so proud of my boys).  As a crossing guard we see all sorts of kids and parents but these are not the real culprits of bad crossing behavior.

White Zone Drop-off Parent - WTF
Red Zone Drop-off Parent - Double WTF
Our school has a red zone that is reserved for school buses and a white zone that is reserved for the daycare vans that drop off their early morning kids.  There are parents that attempt to drop their kids off in these zones (see photos above).  WTF!  A local policeman comes to the school 75% of the time to help monitor parents.  Really - we actually need a policeman to monitor parents at the school?  Can you believe that the answer is yes - the policeman can't believe it either.  I have personally observed parents argue their tickets for parking in the red zone and walking their kids into the school.  Double WTF!

There are also parents who refuse to use the Hug-n-Go.  They drive around the block and come down the street in the direction opposite of the Hug-n-Go.  These parents drive us crossing guards nuts.  They pull into driveways to let their kids out.  This is extremely dangerous because they are blinded by parked cars to the kids and parents walking on the sidewalk.  I have even had parents try to stop in the crosswalk to let their kids out - REALLY!  WTF - why are they so special that they get to break the rules and the law?  They even get mad when you remind them kindly not to drop their kids off on that side of the road and that a SAFE Hug-n-Go is available if they would drive the other direction. A recent email was just sent out by the school stating the rules of Hug-n-Go and requesting additional volunteer monitors for this area since the crossing guards cannot be there.  Yes - parents are that fucking self-rightous and entitled that they cannot even consider others at the Hug-n-Go.  Here is the email:

Hug-n-Go has become a parking lot and a danger to our students. 
We need 2 volunteers, 10 minutes before school starts and 10 minutes after school to hand out flyers and help direct traffic. 
The police will also be there to assist the volunteers.
This is a short term request for the week before Thanksgiving and the week after.  (November 18-22 and December 2 - 6)
We are hoping this extra reminder of the Hug-n-Go rules will resolve any further issues for the remainder of the school year.

Yes, this email is real - WTF. Hug-n-Go is now a "danger to our students".  Stupid parents - do it right!

The trouble is that these rotten parents are not different each week - there a select few (roughly 10 parents) that are repeat offenders each week.  These repeat offenders think they are above the rules of the school and the laws of the city.  WTF again!  Even the police are tired of dealing with these parents that argue even with them.  I am completely flabbergasted by these parents and the entitlement they are teaching their children.  THIS DRIVES ME FUCKING INSANE - just ask my co-workers who get to hear me bitch, moan, and complain about these assholes every Wednesday when I finally drag my ass into work between 8:45am and 9:00am.
Shift Officially Over
At 8:05am my crossing guard duties are officially over.  I try to hang on as long as I can for any stragglers and to help the parents back across the street on their way home or to work (actually for the moms that give me those "looks" - imagination again).  This is actually the most dangerous time of my job.  Parents that are late dropping off their kids or rushing to work speed down the street.  I risk my life stepping in front of them to make sure that my patrons can get across the street safely.  Okay that may be a little exaggeration but I still help many people each Wednesday morning safely cross the street on their way to and from the school.

I am a Crossing Guard and I am proud to say these 20 minutes are the absolute most important of my week!
I am a Crossing Guard

No comments:

Post a Comment