Courageous Crossguards


Sofia Meritano, General Assignment

Our city of Rathdrum is a cute little provincial town, but with the seven in-the-morning traffic down on the streets around the school district, it’s like being in a metropolis: cars on their way, pedestrians on the sidewalks, bikes, scooters, skateboards. It’s a real mess, but fortunately, there is someone who puts some order in this chaos and takes care of everyone’s safety: the crossing guards.

The crossing guards stand on the side of the street with stop signs and neon jackets. Have you ever been curious about them? Probably not because we are all accustomed to their discreet presence. On the contrary, their work is extremely important but sadly often overlooked.

The crossing guard, Tammy, had a perfect description for this profession: “Stopping the traffic to make sure the kids cross safely, without being hurt by the cars.”

Some crossing guards work for the school district while others work for the police department, but for all of them, their first shift starts at 7 a.m. and finishes at 9 a.m. The second shift goes from 1:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.

These flexible schedules permit some of them also to do other jobs. The crossing guard Jennifer, for example, this is her ninth year working at Lakeland High School. 

The crossing guard Wanda also works at the community center in town, she used to be one of the head cooks, and now she just helps in whatever role they need to fill. 

Some among them are even retired, like the crossing guard Dave, who worked for 34 years in the communication industry and is now happily occupied in this new profession. 

Some may think it is a strange job, with particular schedules and repetitive actions. However, all of them share a tremendous love for it. In particular, they have a passion for interactions with kids.

Wanda has done this job for 20 years, and she still says with conviction and enthusiasm that she likes being a crossing guard. “The best part is seeing all the children daily and just listening to the stories they share with you,” she said.

“We also get a lot of compliments from the people we cross. They are very sympathetic to what we do and really appreciate it,” added Dave.

They wouldn’t define it as a hard job, but, as Dave said, you must always be alert and be prepared to deal with the minority of drivers who are not paying attention. This aspect could be dangerous. 

Kimber Ganske, a student here at LHS, said, “Crossing guards are nice, they have a good purpose which is people’s safety, but some people almost hit the crossing guards.”

“We also probably need more of them around our school because, in some streets, lots of cars don’t stop even though there are flashing lights telling them someone is walking,” said Bre Ganske.

Despite these negative notes, crossing guards serve a strong purpose. Being always out here, every day of every season, can be a challenge. “Probably the best period to do this job is fall because it’s not too hot or too cold and it doesn’t usually rain or snow,” said Ashley.

However, they also fight the cold in winter with tenacity and tricks like dressing in layers, wearing gloves, hats, scarves, and everything needed. Wanda said, “I love this job also because it gets me out of my house and gives me some fresh air for four hours a day.”

None of them has a favorite kid; they generally prefer talking to elementary school kids because, as Tammy says, “They seem to listen a lot more,” but the middle and high school kids are well-mannered and polite as well. 

“It’s nice to see them growing and changing through the years,” said Jennifer. The school district and the city of Rathdrum can only be glad for the wonderful job that the crossing guards offer to the community every day, with always big smiles and a good word for everyone.