STOP FOR STUDENTS

St. George police eliminating kindergarten crossing guards 

Dec 7, 2021, 6:36 PM | Updated: Nov 3, 2023, 4:08 pm

ST. GEORGE, Utah – The city of St. George could soon eliminate some crossing guards and speed zones.

The police department said there are just too few 5-year-old students to justify 23 guards at midday.

The change would go into effect on Jan. 1.

Sgt. Tyrell Bangerter, who supervises the crossing guards for the St. George Police Department, said there are 13 elementary schools in the city, and every midday, 23 guards help at the different crosswalks.

Bangerter said they may see a total of 10 or fewer children from those 13 schools every day.

“Safety is our number one priority,” Bangerter said. “We are not seeing the number of kids out there to justify having crossing guards standing out there to cross people.”

Bangerter said police surveyed and went to every school for an entire week, counting the number of students that used the crossings. On some days, they saw one or two children, and on other days, they did not see any at all. </

The city paid nearly $600 a day to staff 23 guards during midday.

“If they are not needed, if it’s something that is not justified, then we are funded by taxpayer dollars, and we don’t want to be wasting those funds and wasting people’s time to have somebody out there for no reason,” Bangerter said.

The crossing guards used before school and after school will remain, and Bangerter said no guards will be laid off.

Some parents with kindergarteners said the plan worried them.

“I don’t like that,” Shauna Kindel, a parent of a kindergartener, said. “It’s not safe. We need our kids to be safe.”

The change is not set in stone, Bangerter said. They are reaching out to parents who will be affected and asking them to do a survey.

“If this is a mistake and we shouldn’t be doing this, hopefully, we will get that information from the people it’s going to impact,” he said.

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St. George police eliminating kindergarten crossing guards