By Wilson Lo, Barrhaven East Councillor
Cooler temperatures can only mean one thing: back to school is here.
With the start of a new school year upon us, crosswalks near most Barrhaven schools are gearing up to fill-up with students on their way to and from school.
They’re not the only ones gearing up: Crossing Guards are back at it, too.
You might see familiar faces from last year, but you will also see fresh faces out there. Either way, they’ll be out in full force and continue to play a key role in keeping students safe.
These individuals help parents take comfort in knowing that they’re looking out for their kids as they safely make their way towards the school’s front door, and back home again.
Their job goes beyond “just” directing traffic – For students, they become a familiar face and trusted adult.
It is obvious, but I’ll say it anyways, they’re an important part of the return.
It’s no surprise when I tell you that school zones are chaotic – they’re busy areas to begin with, filled with a combination of regular traffic and sometimes frustrated and distracted drivers… Not to mention, buses come and go, parents drop off and pick up their kids.
But that’s just par for the course on a regular school day.
After talking to residents in the area, speeding around schools emerged as a big concern. While it may not be the entire answer, working with the Ottawa Safety Council (OSC) is part of the solution to work towards reaching safer school zones.
We’ve been chatting with the OSC and, like years past, there’s a need for Crossing Guards in Barrhaven (and beyond).Crossing Guards cover over 260 intersections, with more than 40 intersections located in Barrhaven alone.
To steal a line from their website “Not all heroes wear capes… some wear high visibility vests!”
If you’ve ever been out before 9 a.m. near a school, which I’m betting you have, you’ve seen these high-visibility vests and, whether you’re aware of it or not, felt the impact of their job in the community.
Rain, shine, snow, or sun, they’re out there to guide kids safely across streets as they make their way to their destination.
Crossing Guards hold an especially critical position here and in any community where they are located.
That’s where you could come in: Being a School Crossing Guard can provide an opportunity for meaningful work and is a reliable source of extra income for people looking to fill the beginning and end of their day.
With training and mentoring, Crossing Guards get in-depth classroom preparation and pair-up with experienced Guards to shadow until they are comfortable taking on an intersection of their own.
These sometimes-unsung heroes are there to keep Barrhaven kids safe on their way to/from school, and I highly encourage you to contact the Ottawa Safety Council if it’s a role you’d like to get into.
To our Crossing Guards, in case you haven’t heard it today: Thank you for all that you do.
Featured Image: Rosa Bucci is a longtime Barrhaven crossing guard.