After all of my posts
about the crossing guard situation in Albemarle County, I was invited to attend a press conference this morning by both the Sheriff’s office and the Albemarle County school board.
I was of course, delighted to be present for the big announcement.
Sheriff Ed Robb greeted the small crowd gathered in front of Hollymead Elementary School to share the news that the Albemarle County Sheriff’s Office
, the Albemarle County Police Department
and the Albemarle County Public Schools
have collaborated to develop a certified crossing guard training program — the first in the state.
The program, to be held Sept. 4 and 5 and Oct. 6 and 7 in Earlysville, consists of two full-day sessions focused on training volunteer crossing guards. The program has been “approved, sanctioned and certified” by the Commonwealth, said Sheriff Robb. Trainees will learn traffic direction techniques, emergency reporting skills and earn CPR and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) certification. The future crossing guards will be required to pass a written test and complete a practical exercise to graduate.
Diane Behrens, assistant superintendent, Albemarle County Schools said that the crossing guard problem began in February, 2007 when it was brought to their attention that according to state law, teachers cannot be crossing guards. Working together, the school administrators and law enforcement groups found a solution: train the teachers and other volunteers to meet the requirements and reinstate the crossing guards.
When asked, Behrens said that it was not clear whether bus service would be discontinued for the students designated as “walkers” in the district. “It’s hard to take something away once we’ve started it,” she said. Student walkers for the district did not have bus service prior to February 2007.
What took so long to get the crossing guard program up and running? I have wondered, as February was nearly seven months ago. Brian Wheeler
, school board member and fellow blogger who was not present at the press conference but with whom I’ve communicated on this topic, said that the curriculum had to be developed and approved by the state. As any teacher or government employee knows, that kind of process takes time. It’s a miracle they got it done this quickly, in that case.
The program is actively recruiting crossing guard trainees. If you’re interested in learning more about providing safe routes to schools in Albemarle, contact Caroline Heins
, program coordinator for the Alliance for Community Choice in Transporation.
Cross-posted to www.stlworkingmom.com
Labels: Albemarle County, albemarle county police, albemarle county public schools, albemarle county sheriff's office, charlottesville, Crossing guards in Albemarle, Hollymead, Sheriff Ed Robb