WAYNESBORO, Va -- Monday through Friday, Jacqueline Rogers, is responsible for making sure kids get to and from Westwood Hills Elementary. She said, more often than not, the kids are not the ones acting unsafe.
“I've never had problems with children,” said Rogers, a crossing guard. “It's the drivers, for not paying attention, being in a hurry, their minds somewhere else.”
Rogers said not paying attention is a common problem that she has watched evolve over the years. Cell phones are the biggest distraction she sees for drivers.
“I've seen them go through the traffic lights because they're either talking on the cell phone or texting,” she said. “All of this should be against the law. An officer should be able to stop them for that.”
Being a crossing guard, at times, can be a very thankless job. Rogers has been in the business long enough to know that there are people out there that think of her directions as suggestions instead of rules.
“A lot of people don't see that we have authority, but we do,” Rogers said. “They don't realize we work through the police department. They think we work through the school. If they can realize that, it might make a difference.”
As children grow up, they are going to be more mobile and guards will not always be there to watch for potential accidents. That is why David Kurtz, a parent, teaches his kids to stay alert when walking to school.
“The kids can't take for granted that people are going to be going 25,” Kurtz said. “They need to watch out for themselves, just assuming that the others maybe aren't doing the right thing. Which is terrible for a child to have to think that way, but it's kind of the nature of where we're at.”
Rogers said it’s up to the parents for children to learn about traffic safety.
“Parents need to be teaching their children, they're going to walk by themselves eventually, to watch all lines of traffic, all four lines. You just have to,” Rogers said. “They're not going to look out for you. You've got to look out for them.”
It’s not just kids who should be alert.
“Kids are excited to get from point A to point B, but there could be danger in between point A and point B,” Kurtz said. “Just to be aware of their surroundings. And that goes for adults driving as well.”
The Waynesboro Police Department is making an active effort to ensure kids are safe while walking to school.
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