BY ALFREDO ALVARADO
Shaun D. Francois I, president of Board of Education Employees Local 372, blasted a March 17 NY Post article that claimed too many School Crossing Guards are calling in sick – with police officers taken away from their crime-fighting duties in order to fill in for them.
The paper quoted an anonymous source and the article did not cite a single statistic.
“We appreciate that police officers would rather fight crime than perform school crossing guard duties. But that’s no reason to scapegoat the hardworking men and women who make sure our kids get to and from school safely,” Francois said. “This is a smokescreen that’s masking the bigger issue – we need several hundred more School Crossing Guards (SCGs) but the city is not hiring them.”
The local president has been fighting for more SCGs and has received the support of Public Advocate Letitia James, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and several members of the City Council.
Some $2 million was put in the city budget last year to hire more SCGs, but the NYPD has failed to make the hires. Francois, whose union last year negotiated with the city to increase crossing guard pay from $9.88 to $12.18 an hour, doesn’t understand why.
“There are unfilled positions all over the city and the funds to hire them are there, so why is the city not hiring them, that is the question that needs to be answered,” Francois said.
“The crossing guards are crucial to street safety around our schools, and Manhattan’s children are especially vulnerable because we have more unfilled crossing guard positions than any other borough,” said Borough President Brewer at a City Hall press conference last year.