Crossing guard program launches at San Francisco school

March 3, 2014 8:59:29 PM PST
A new student crossing guard program kicked off at an elementary school in San Francisco's Balboa Terrace neighborhood Monday.

Five young Commodore Sloat Elementary School students -- crossing guards in training -- held stop signs and directed traffic along Darien Way under the supervision of a police officer this morning.

Under the new program, which will also be implemented at Alice Fong Yu Alternative School and Lakeshore Elementary School, students will be trained to help their classmates safely cross streets before and after school, with adult supervision.

Commodore Sloat Principal Greg John said Darien Way becomes "a little bit chaotic" in the times just before school starts and again when classes end for the day.

John said the school has tried various other ways to make the street safer but that he thinks student crossing guards are the best solution.

"When children are out here, adults slow down," he said. "It's waking people up, there are kids around. You need to look up and put away your cellphone."

AAA is supplying the neon green hats, sashes and badges that will be worn by the guards, as well as training videos, AAA traffic safety specialist Emma Olenberger said.

A similar program was in place until 2010, when a previous partnership between AAA and the city came to an end. The program was re-launched today by Supervisor Norman Yee, who secured funding to pay for the adult supervisors.

"It's about educating our kids so they can educate adults," he said.

Yee said he hopes success at the initial few schools "will make other schools want to be involved in this."

There is no timeline yet for when other schools might participate.

AAA assists with crossing guard programs involving more than 635,000 students at about 35,000 schools nationwide, Olenberger said.

"To get San Francisco back on board is great," she said. "We had a big hole here."


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