The School Newspaper of Lawrence High School.

The Budget

The School Newspaper of Lawrence High School.

The Budget

The School Newspaper of Lawrence High School.

The Budget

Schools facing crossing guard shortage amid first days of school

Maya Smith
A crossing guard sign near LHS.

Busy Lawrence streets lacked crossing guards on Aug. 16, the first day of school, as the city continues to fill guard positions. 

Parents and families took to social media after being informed this week that Billy Mills, Schwegler, Sunflower, Langston Hughes and Cordley would be short crossing guards due to empty job openings.

“For the timeline of the notification, I try to see it from both sides,” Cordley parent Ashley Herda said. “I want to believe the city and district did everything they could to staff these positions but never received any formal inkling that they were searching.”

Crossing guards are contracted by the city, not the district. However, USD 497 spread the word about the shortages in the days leading up to the start of school. 

“In a perfect world, news like this would have made its way from the city to us and the school communities long before the day before school starts,” USD 497 board member GR Gordon-Ross said. 

After the news had spread, Gordon-Ross decided to apply for one of the positions. 

“It affected me by getting me to ask myself what was the best way I could help solve the problem. And that was to go and apply to be a crossing guard,” Gordon-Ross said. “I’m lucky to have a flexible job, so I can do that and try to be part of the solution.”

To combat the lack of crossing guards around schools, the district and city continued to promote the Safe Routes to School program, which offers mapped out routes, as well as encouraging parents to walk or bike to school together to eliminate risk. 

The district encourages school families to consider walking or biking to school together if possible,” USD 497 director of communication Julie Boyle said. “We are fortunate in a community like ours to see neighbors helping neighbors with carpools or walking to school buses.”


The city’s director of communications and community relations Cori Wallace agrees, adding that public interest has played a key role in finding a solution. 

“We know it’s a key priority for all who want to support student safety,” Wallace said. “Because of increased public interest, we’ve gotten closer to filling the seven additional locations and we continue to interview a number of interested applicants.”

As the City of Lawrence continues to search for guards, the city is optimistic that positions will be filled in the near future.

The public response to this opportunity has been positive,” Wallace said. “We’re optimistic about the increased capacity to serve more children and families who walk to school.”

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About the Contributor
Maya Smith
Maya Smith, Red and Black Co-Editor in Chief

I am a second year editor-in-chief of the Red and Black Yearbook and have been on staff for three years. I am considered a jack of all trades - I take photos, write, design, and do lots and lots of live reporting. When I’m not working on journalism, I’m a part of IPS, Student Council, Unified Sports, Link Crew, and Hang12.

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