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Statewide crossing guard shortage lingering as kids head back to school

Posted at 6:33 PM, Aug 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-15 20:33:19-04

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Classes begin for most of Utah next week, yet critical safety positions remain unfilled.

School zones across Salt Lake City got a fresh coat of paint and reflector beads Thursday.

Judy Burr is also preparing for the new school year. The longtime crossing guard bought an expensive LED stop sign to keep herself and the kids extra safe.

“I have come so close to being hit more than I can tell you,” Burr said, who’s helped children get to school safely for 18 years.

Despite advertising all summer, Salt Lake City must hire at least four more crossing guards. If not, some routes to school won’t be covered, according to supervisor David Tola.

“We want to keep every kid safe so we do want to put guards at every crossing that is out there,” Tola said.

Crossing guard vacancies are a statewide problem. FOX 13 found job openings from Logan to St. George.

West Valley City needs 17 more crossing guards.

“It makes me very nervous for Monday,” West Valley City Police Det. Mike Millett said.

Det. Millett hosted a last-minute training to cover 82 crossings Thursday afternoon. Some guards may have to double up Monday.

“If I am short, I’ll have our law enforcement officers be there,” Millett said.

In Salt Lake City, critical positions may still be empty when the lights change on the first day of school.

“These children need safety. They are not always attuned to what is going on. Their mind is always somewhere else in playland somewhere,” Burr said.

For application information for a crossing guard in Salt Lake City, click here. For West Valley City, click here.