By ALFREDO ALVARADO
At a March 14 press conference on the steps of City Hall, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson joined Local 372 President Shaun D. Francois I in demanding the city provide more funding to hire additional School Crossing Guards.
“You can’t put a price on the safety of our children,” said Johnson, who is serving his first term as Council Speaker. He called for expedited funding to hire more school crossing guards.“There should not be a debate about this issue,” said Francois. “Let’s do what is right for our kids and let’s do it right now.” The local president wants to ensure that every school is adequately staffed with School Crossing Guards.
The city employs only 2,546 School Crossing Guards, leaving many schools without a guard.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero Plan requires hiring an additional 100 full-time crossing guard supervisors, 200 part-time crossing guards and a mobile replacement squad.
Although pedestrian fatalities dropped significantly last year, the leading cause of injury-related deaths is of children under 14 being struck by a vehicle. Recently a third grader at PS 89 in Manhattan was hit by a car near the school on Warren Street.
“That accident could have been prevented if the school had a crossing guard,” said Francois.
City Council member Helen Rosenthal also spoke at the press conference. She pledged her support to pressure the city. “When it comes to protecting our children you can count on me,” she said.
City Council members Jumaane Williams, Rafael Espinal and Andrew Cohen also expressed support for the necessary additional funding.
This article appears in the April issue of Public Employee Press, the official publication of District Council 37, AFSCME, AFL-CIO, which represents 125,000 municipal workers in New York City.