Archive for Thursday, August 30, 2007

Crossing guard urges safety

August 30, 2007

After spending more than a year at the intersection of Church and 14th streets as a crossing guard, Jean Farmer has noticed a few things.

She has seen all manner of drivers and some of them, too many of them, just aren't safe, she said.

That's partly why she started the job, she said.

"The kids needed somebody," Farmer said.

When the 2007-08 school year began, she decided to draft an open letter letting drivers know exactly what they should do before the school day from 7 to 8 a.m. and after school dismisses from 3 to 4 p.m.

"I've had too many cars run the stop signs," Farmer said. "I don't want to see any of my kids hurt."

She based the rules on what she taught the students when she first started the job.

Her first rule requires each child or bike rider keep at least five feet from the corner.

It took a little while for the children to understand the procedures, Farmer said.

Eventually the youngsters fell in line and ended up teaching newcomers the system, Farmer said.

She also requires youngsters to walk their bikes across so as to not fall and injure other walkers.

In her letter Farmer reminded motorists of an obvious rule ---- everyone should wait until the crossing has finished.

She has seen cars run both her temporary sign and the permanent stop sign.

"I want people to pay attention to the stop signs," she said.

She also asks teenagers and older people also follow the same rules as the youngsters.

According to her letter, "I had a child ask me why they had to follow the rule of waiting when an adult didn't."

The final rule focuses on what happens after the last child crosses the street. Farmer urges drivers to wait until she completely leaves the street before they continue across.

"There have been too many people that have been hit because people don't pay attention," Farmer said. "I'm a big enough target that I don't want to be hit."

In addition to dangerous traffic at the corner, Farmer said she has also had both students and parents thank her for the job she does.

"It makes me feel appreciated," she said.

Eudora City Police Chief Greg Dahlem approves of Farmer's rules.

"Basically, it's a common sense thing," he said.

In addition to Farmer at Nottingham Elementary School, the police department pays Joan Hughes to man the crossing at Winchester Road. Kristina Shepherd is in charge of safety at 23rd and Church streets.

"Their first concern is the safety of the children," Dahlem said.

For more information about the crossing guards, call the department at 542-3121.

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