Cross guards play important role in school day

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Alfred Anderson, a cross guard at Attwood Elementary School, stops traffic to let students cross the street.

Catherine McEvoy

Alfred Anderson, a cross guard at Attwood Elementary School, stops traffic to let students cross the street.

As the kid approach, Alfred Anderson is ready outside Lansing’s Attwood Elementary School.

It’s the job of Anderson — and other cross guards across the city — to help students safely cross busy streets on their way to and from school.

Being a cross guard requires more than standing outside in the crosswalk when kids come by. It requires attentiveness, focus and caution, said Anderson, who wears a bright yellow bib and is equipped with a stop sign.

“My favorite part is seeing the kids walk by and the busses full of children. I have been a cross guard for three years now and each summer we are required to go to a training. This summer was a little bit different and run by a different person,” Anderson said. “I enjoy keeping the kids safe.”

Effective this summer, the Lansing School District and police department changed their training certification for cross guards in the community. Instead of being trained by the Lansing police, every cross guard received training from All City Management Services, which trains cross guards all around the country.

In the state of Michigan, Thomas King is the regional manager. King is completing his fourth year working for ACMS and has been a cross guard for seven years. When speaking to King about the cross guard program, he mentioned the structure and procedures for the attendees.

“Michigan has a two-hour training program, which consists of general procedure, assembly and the cross itself. There is a zero-tolerance policy for being late or leaving early,” King said. “There is a field training checklist, which consists of 30 items they go over for every cross guard.” (balance, flexibility, stepping up and down).

King also mentioned the guidelines and requirements to ensure the kid’s safety.

“Something important we always stress is to make sure the cross guard gives the instructions two times. Kids have a tendency to have a short memory therefore we want to make sure they follow the proper directions. Once the interview is complete each attendee is required to take a functional capacity evaluation.  The evaluation consists of balance, flexibility, strength and stepping up and down.”

Tameka Wilson, a parent whose child who attends Reo school, said this new rule was a great idea.

“I think it’s very important that the cross guards are professionally trained. Knowing children are in good hands always makes parents feel better,” Wilson said. “I think it’s a good idea that these cross guards are being trained elsewhere. I don’t necessarily trust the school system to do it.”

Xie Vang, a local parent of Attwood School neighborhood, gave her input on how she felt about newly trained cross guards.

“I think it’s a great idea because it makes the kids safer,” Vang said. “Being certified is important, especially when it involves children. My kids don’t personally walk home, but I’m glad to know the kids who do are in good hands.”