Los Altos is experiencing a staffing shortage of school crossing guards, leaving several school crosswalks unprotected.
According to All City Management Services, the company that contracts with the Los Altos Police Department to provide crossing guard staff, five positions are unfilled, leaving Loyola, Oak Avenue and Montclaire elementary schools and Egan Junior High without a sufficient number of guards to protect students.
Michele Busch, operations manager at ACMS, encouraged local residents to apply for the jobs.
“I think many people don’t realize that it is a paid position,” she said. “So, you can make some money, but more than that, you’re able to give back to your community.”
The staff shortage correlates with the general labor shortage nationwide, though Rene Rodriguez Duran, field supervisor for Los Altos area crossing guards, noted other possible reasons. The same factors that make the position flexible and desirable may also restrict some people from pursuing it.
Crossing guards typically work less than two hours per day, divided into a morning and afternoon shift, but are paid for three hours. While that might make it an ideal position for a retired person or a stay-at-home parent looking for some extra income, it may be difficult for someone with another part-time job to make room for such shifts in their schedules.
Rodriguez Duran still urged people to apply for what he called a fun and an important job.
“You get to be outside looking after the kids, helping them cross the street safely,” he said. “It’s very rewarding. You’re helping the kids of the community.”
Los Altos is not the only region experiencing a crossing guard shortage; Oakland schools also have struggled to hire new guards. Nationwide, too, the scarcity of crossing guards has prompted concern about schoolchildren’s safety.
Busch emphasized the critical role crossing guards play in safeguarding children who walk or bike to and from school, especially in areas where drivers can be speedy and careless.
“The bottom line is that we are there to keep kids safe,” she said.
To apply for a crossing guard position in Los Altos and for more information, visit acmssafety.com.
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