Crossing Guards: Providing Safe Passage One Walk at a Time


Photos By RICH SCHMITT | Staff Photographer

Standing on the corners of the streets, rain or shine, usually in brightly colored jackets and reflective gear, crossing guards make a living out of providing safe passage to pedestrians.

Without needing further reason to do it, these traffic officers undergo a selective process that would prove too tough for many people.

Crossing guards that wake up early to personally deal with the traffic we all aim to avoid must first pass a criminal background check, sustain a physical, eye and hearing examination before getting hired, and take on the required training.

The program varies between two hours up to two weeks. In some states, a character and background investigation is also necessary to take on this surprisingly dangerous job.

In 2016, there were 5,987 pedestrian traffic fatalities in the U.S.—245 of which were children.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 50 Californian crossing guards are injured on the job each year—often side-swiped by the mirrors of distracted or speeding drivers who also swear at them for slowing their commute.

Schools are the most dangerous locales to work, largely because of impatient parents.

So the next time you walk across Sunset under the protection of a crossing guard, who risk their lives, be sure to thank them for their service.