Community rallies behind suspended crossing guard

Runnemede , NJ (WTXF) A New Jersey community is rallying behind a crossing guard after she was suspended for 2 days. Officials say she did not follow the chain of command. On Thursday, a meeting was held with the crossing guard reviewing the chain of command.

For 16 years, Gina Bowne has been helping kids cross the street outside of Bingham Elementary in Runnemede, New Jersey. So when snow piled up after the blizzard she took video and then took action.

“None of the corners were cleared off,” she told FOX 29. The streets were terrible. It was a hot mess for parents to drop their children off.”

She needed help and when her boss the Runnemede Police Department wasn’t on duty, she texted Runnemede's Mayor Nick Kappatos. Gina asked the mayor for help with snow removal. Well, apparently that was a no-no.

"I sent him a text at 9:22. 22 minutes into my work day. And I got suspended for 2 days for doing that,” she explained.

Instead of a thank you, Gina got a letter that told her she was suspended for 2 days for insubordination and not following the chain of command.

"I understand I broke the rules. I'll be the first to admit it. But I think in those circumstances it was OK to break the rules. I don't feel I should be punished for it," Gina said.

According to the mayor, after 16 years, Gina should've known who to call. Gina says she attempted to follow the chain of command but her boss was off Monday.

In a statement the town says it has in place: "Specific procedures employees are required to follow to report situations they believe may constitute a threat to the health, welfare or safety of the general public or themselves."

"It's snow. It's ice. Cars are sliding. Kids are in the street. You are just waiting for something bad to happen. You know she is doing what she supposed to do. Watching out for the safety of our children," said resident Karen Impagliazzo.

Word of the suspension spread like wildfire on social media.  Parents even gathering at the school to start a petition in support of Gina.

Some says she's being punished for thinking of the kids first.

"I feel bad for the rest of the crossing guards.This may send a signal to other crossing guards that you may have a good heart and what you want to do. But be careful of what you do because you know what?  Your head will be on the chopping block," said resident Timothy Vzza.

Gina has been told to report to the Borough Hall Monday morning.



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