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Crossing guards attend Valley training workshops to keep kids safe

Posted at 4:58 AM, Aug 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-02 08:24:15-04

While it is a parent's job to make sure kids are prepared of the first day of school, it's the crossing guard's job to make sure those children make it safely from the street and into the classroom. 

On Thursday, crossing guards will get their last opportunity to participate in an interactive training workshop, sponsored by Maricopa Association of Governments. Two separate sessions have already been held in Phoenix and Peoria. The final three-hour event will be held Thursday morning in Mesa. 

"We know so many crossing guards, unfortunately, are handed a stop paddle and said, 'Go ahead, go do it - cross the kids,'" said Peoria Transportation Planning Engineer Brandon Forrey. "It may seem simple. But, there's a lot more to it than you would ever know."

In a press release, organizers wrote: "The training will include essential crossing guard procedures, information on the health and welfare of guards, and resources available from police and fire departments to help the guards ensure the children's safety." 

The release also says: "Special sessions will review traffic laws regarding crosswalks, procedures that must be followed in the crosswalks, and proper equipment that guards rely on to perform their duties safely and effectively." 

"We have no control over what motorists do," Forrey explained. "But, they have control over what they can do and there are so many things that a crossing guard can do that can minimize the risk." 

Inside that training, ABC15 spoke with crossing guard Ken Miller. For seven years, he has learned hundreds of students' names at Apache Elementary School in Peoria, the names of drivers coming through and even the names of the neighborhood dogs. 

"It's just been a joy," Miller exclaimed. 

Miller showed pictures of his 'crosswalk costumes' too, where he dresses up like Santa Claus or Shrek around the holidays. 

To him, this is more than just a job. But, he also knows what it is like when drivers do not notice him or do not even look up from a cell phone. 

"I've had a couple... you could see them... just drive right through," Miller explained. "They don't see me at all...that's scary. I get scared sometimes." 

He said this training does help and Miller will often bring new crossing guards to the yearly event to make sure they get all the help they need. 

Organizers said they believe an estimated 400 crossing guards came out to the training sessions over this year's three-day event.  

The City of Phoenix also has a list of Back-to-School tips for parents and students to look at before heading off to class.