Newark to hire 60 part-time school crossing guards

By Michael Anthony Adams | NJ Advance Media, for NJ.com
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on September 28, 2016

 

NEWARK — In a push to increase safety for school children, Mayor Ras J. Baraka announced Tuesday that the city will hire 60 Newark residents as part-time crossing guards.

Only a month into the school year, records show 57 people under 18 years old have been struck by vehicles, said Frank Baraff, director of communications for the city.

While the numbers don't reveal whether they were stuck during school hours, a traffic study conducted by the city analyzed the number of unaccompanied students that were crossing streets and determined the need for 161 guard posts, Baraff said.

As of Sept. 27, 101 guards were employed by the city.

"There are 161 budgeted positions for school crossing guards throughout the city," Baraff said in an email. "Through years of attrition, their numbers have dwindled to 101 with only new four guards hired since 2010. Three were hired in 2014 and one in 2015.  Four former crossing guards were rehired during the same time period."

Newly-hired crossing guards will undergo at least two hours of classroom training, receive information on methods of traffic control and the duties and responsibilities of crossing guards, a release from the city said.

"The safety of our children is paramount to both Mayor Ras J. Baraka and I," said Public Safety Director Anthony F. Ambrose.

"At community meetings this summer, residents voiced their concerns about no longer having school crossing guards at their schools. I explained that because of budgetary constraints, previous administrations let their numbers dwindle from 161 to 101. Keeping my pledge to address citizen complaints, I met with Mayor Baraka and he authorized the hiring of additional crossing guards," Director Ambrose added.

"The current number of vacancies is unacceptable. Going without hiring additional crossing guards for so many years needlessly jeopardized our kids, who were simply trying to make it to and from school to get an education," he said. "We are working to complete this task as expeditiously as possible."

Guards will work at intersections near elementary and middle schools that the traffic study identified as problem areas.

Applicants will go through a comprehensive criminal background check that investigates their driving, financial and employment histories, and asks about their residency history and other relevant information, the release said.

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