Crossing guard shortage troubling NYC parents

Posted: 9:08 AM, Oct 16, 2015
Updated: 2015-10-16 09:08:56-04

On any given weekday, it's a mad rush to get across Pearl Street in Lower Manhattan outside the Peck Slip Elementary school.

"A car ran the light -- a car was behind him and we almost got hit," parent Stephanie Adams said.

The school is located at the foot of the Brooklyn bridge and the FDR Drive. Parents said it's obvious why an NYPD crossing guard is so needed outside this school in particular.

"We have drivers who were bound up on the bridge and when they get off and see a small stretch of road, they accelerate,"  parent Vance Gorke said.

So the parents now have more than 300 petitions asking for a crossing guard at this specific school. But PIX11 News found it's actually a citywide issue. Local 372, which represents crossing guards, said there are hundreds of crossing guard vacancies throughout the five boroughs. The union said the jobs can't be filled because the pay is too low.

On the NYPD's website, they boast about an $11.50/hour salary with benefits after working 20 hours a week. The union said that unacceptable.

"They work in inclement weather. It's disrespectful," union president Shaun Francois said.

City councilwoman Margaret Chin said the council passed a bill to fund the hiring of new guards, but they just can't be filled.

"It's hard for someone to do this part time and get another job," she said.

The NYPD said on its website they are recruiting guards in a certain numbered districts -- but Peck Slip is in District 1 which is not on the list. Chin said she's putting pressure on the NYPD to hire someone.

After PIX11 News shot this story, the NYPD said they will have a traffic agenct outside the school during pickup and drop-off times until a crossing guard is hired.