Crossing Guards

Explanation: Crossing guards and student safety patrols can improve safety conditions and increase families’ comfort with their children walking or bicycling to school. Sometimes crossing guard programs are run by local police departments or city agencies, and other times they are run by school districts. Effective crossing guard policies and programs provide a system for hiring, funding, training, locating, supervising, and properly equipping crossing guards and student safety patrols.

Option 1: District, in partnership with the administrator of the crossing guard program, if applicable, shall work together with your jurisdiction, Safe Routes to School District Task Force, and School Teams, if applicable, to ensure that an effective process exists for hiring, funding, training, locating, supervising, and properly equipping crossing guards for District schools. District, in partnership with the aforementioned entities, if applicable, shall work to ensure the equitable distribution of crossing guards among District schools in light of specific safety hazards and the number of students affected by such hazards. If the number of crossing guards at a particular school is insufficient, District shall, in partnership with the aforementioned entities, if applicable, seek additional funding or resources to increase the number of crossing guards at such school.

 

Rating: 
3

Option 2: District, in partnership with the administrator of the crossing guard program, if applicable, shall work together with your jurisdiction, Safe Routes to School District Task Force, and School Teams, if applicable, to ensure that an effective process exists for hiring, funding, training, locating, supervising, and properly equipping crossing guards for District schools. District, in partnership with the aforementioned entities, if applicable, shall work to ensure the equitable distribution of crossing guards among District schools in light of specific safety hazards and the number of students affected by such hazards. If the number of crossing guards at a particular school is insufficient, District shall, in partnership with the aforementioned entities, if applicable, seek additional funding or resources to increase the number of crossing guards at such school.

District shall consider using student safety patrols to help ensure safe travel to and from school. 

Rating: 
3

Option 3: District, in partnership with the administrator of the crossing guard program, if applicable, shall work together with your jurisdiction, Safe Routes to School District Task Force, and School Teams, if applicable, to ensure that an effective process exists for hiring, funding, training, locating, supervising, and properly equipping crossing guards for District schools. District, in partnership with the aforementioned entities, if applicable, shall work to ensure the equitable distribution of crossing guards among District schools in light of specific safety hazards and the number of students affected by such hazards. If the number of crossing guards at a particular school is insufficient, District shall, in partnership with the aforementioned entities, if applicable, seek additional funding or resources to increase the number of crossing guards at such school.

District shall consider using student safety patrols to help ensure safe travel to and from school. 

District acknowledges that certain requirements for becoming a crossing guard (e.g. background checks, etc.) may hinder recruitment.[57]  District endeavors to address these barriers by working with the relevant authorities and stakeholders.

Rating: 
3

Do not include this element in my policy.

Legal Note:  It is simplest for school districts when local municipalities or counties administer crossing guard programs. However, school districts may have existing crossing guard programs or may want to understand the legal implications of beginning or operating a crossing guard program.

In general, schools do not owe a duty to students to protect against injuries that occur off campus or outside of normal school hours. Moreover, they are not obligated to implement crossing guard programs, even for notoriously dangerous crosswalks that their students must navigate en route to and from school. However, a school can be held liable for student injuries occurring off campus if it has “specifically assumed” a responsibility for student safety.  That is, if a school district provides and administers a crossing guard program, it has undertaken to provide students with a measure of supervision and protection and therefore owes students a duty to operate and administer the program in a reasonable manner. Thus, once a school voluntarily assumes responsibility for a crossing guard program, it may be held liable for any injuries that result from its failure to operate the program with reasonable care. This does not mean the school will be held liable for all accidents that occur – just for those where the school acted negligently. Schools choose to operate crossing guard programs despite the possible exposure to liability for two reasons: (1) because they care about increasing student safety; and (2) because often the best way to avoid liability is to prevent injuries from occurring in the first place.

With regards to student safety patrols, it is unlikely that schools would face liability in case of an injury. Keep in mind that, typically, student safety patrols monitor and control student-pedestrians; they do not control traffic. As with crossing guard programs, however, any time a school fails to operate a program with reasonable care, it exposes itself to potential liability.  Thus, schools do well to establish proper guidelines for running student safety patrol programs.  Likewise, they will want to anticipate possible dangers and take reasonable steps to avoid them. It’s also worth repeating that if the patrols decrease the likelihood of injuries occurring to students, the overall effect might be to decrease the risk of liability for the district.

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Each policy is eligible for a given number of stars, depending upon how much the policy contributes to creating a safe and encouraging atmosphere for children to walk and bicycle to school. Some policies are only eligible for one star, others for two stars, and others for three stars. For some policies, selecting a stronger option may provide additional stars.


Users of this document should be aware that every funding source has different requirements governing the appropriate use of their funds. Under U.S. law, no federal funds are permitted to be used for lobbying or to influence, directly or indirectly, specific pieces of pending or proposed legislation at the federal, state, or local levels. Organizations should consult appropriate legal counsel to ensure compliance with all rules, regulations, and restrictions of any funding sources.