Local residents recently have expressed concerns about the safety of students due to a lack of crossing guards at major intersections in the 19th Ward.
Now after a student was hit by a vehicle while crossing an intersection on 95th Street in North Beverly, those concerns have reached a boiling point.
After experiencing a shortage at the start of the school year, Chicago Public Schools (CPS)—which employs and assigns crossing guards—said that all posts in the 19th Ward have been filled.
However, Bridget Segroves, a parent of a local student, said no crossing guard was present when her son, who attends a nearby elementary school, was struck by a car at 95th and Leavitt streets as he walked home on Oct. 1.
Segroves said the driver was headed north on Leavitt, then turned right on 95th Street and hit her son, who was not seriously injured.
Segroves said that the following week two crossing guards were working the intersection, but her concerns about the situation remain.
CPS officials, she said, told her they do not announce when a crossing guard is not working.
“How do we know,” Segroves wondered, “when crossing guards will be there or not?”
She said she reported the accident to police.
Sean Joyce, commander of the Chicago Police Department 22nd District, said a report was filed, and the incident was not a hit-and-run accident.
19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea issued a community email on Sept. 15 stating that CPS was facing a “critical shortage” of school crossing guards, including locally, with vacancies at 112th Street and Western Avenue, 111th Street and Bell Avenue, and 99th and Leavitt streets.
In an email on Sept. 29, a CPS official said that all posts in the ward had been filled.
A request for a list of all posts in the 19th Ward and other information was not returned by CPS officials.
A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Chicago said CPS manages and assigns crossing guards to serve archdiocesan schools in the city.
Segroves said she feels CPS lacks the appropriate level of urgency in addressing the problem.
Other residents have expressed similar concerns.
Sutherland Elementary School Principal Meg Burns said a lack of a crossing guard at 99th and Leavitt streets created a dangerous situation. Burns said that she, a school security guard and a volunteer parent have helped students cross that intersection.
Burns said on Oct. 8 that school officials were told that a guard had been hired for that crossing and was set to start soon.
Sutherland officials had been promoting the availability of crossing guard jobs.
“I’m not mad at CPS,” Burns said, “but we do need someone there.”
The shortage came after the city’s crossing guard unit was transferred from the Office of Emergency Management and Communication (OEMC)—which handles emergencies such as 911 calls—to CPS about a year ago.
The budget for crossing guards is $14 million, according to reports.
Beginning in January, CPS crossing guards will be eligible for employee benefits.
Crossing guards are union members of the SEIU Local 73, which represents over 31,000 workers, primarily in positions in school districts, municipalities and social-service agencies.
The starting pay for a crossing guard is $15.16 per hour.
Segroves said she understands that crossing guards sometimes can’t come to work. However, she wants the CPS to inform its schools of intersections that won’t have a crossing guard on duty for a specific day.
Segroves said she’s frustrated by a lack of clarity.
“There’s not a lot of answers.”