Shortage of crossing guards an issue for Philly schools

Imagine children walking to school and back without any crossing guards. Parents tell FOX 29 that is the case in some sections of Philadelphia.

Crossing guards were back at their posts this week at intersections along Oregon Avenue in South Philly as schools opened, but not at all the intersections around the schools.

"That's dangerous. They definitely need to have someone there to watch over our children at the intersections around here," said parent Renae Johnson.

"There should be more security for the kids. They should not be walking alone. There should be somebody watching them the whole time, no matter how old they are," stated another parent Anna Davis.

FOX 29 viewers say the usual guards at 9th and Johnston, 7th and Johnston near the Mastery Charter School, as well as 9th and Bigler were nowhere to be found this week. The city says there's a shortage of guards.

"That's not safe because there's crazy drivers out there and they do not pay attention. Half the time, they're on the phone," Davis said.

Philadelphia police confirm that some corners aren't being covered by crossing guards because of the guard shortage. City council recently authorized funding for 1,037 guards city wide. Right now, that number stands at about 900.

"School just started but they should have been working on that over the summertime and they should have been out here before school came into session," said Johnson.

"Put it out there, advertisements all over, that crossing guards are needed everywhere," said Davis.

Police are actively hiring guards to get up to the maximum, but with background checks and training, that takes time. In the meantime, when officers are available, they are manning those intersections where there are no guards available.

"I want my babies safe. I want both of them safe. I have two children who go down here. One goes to the elementary and the other to the senior school," explained Johnson.