The Plano Police Department is expected to conduct a traffic study along a busy street in front of an elementary school after a parent complained about the lack of a crossing guard there.
Brinker Elementary, in the 3800 block of Clark Parkway, does have one crossing guard who is positioned daily at the intersection with Yeary Road, on the north side of campus. But a parent has raised a concern that another guard is necessary at the uncontrolled crosswalk directly in front of the school.
“We’ve had a couple of near misses and we don’t want to have a tragedy,” said Rikki Ragland Marver, a mother of a child who attends Brinker. “As we were midway through [the crosswalk] a car just drove right through in front of us. Heaven forbid if my child or [my friend’s] child had decided to step ahead of us or run ahead of us something traffic clearly would have happened.”
Instead of a crossing guard, the school’s assistant principal can be seen every morning before classes begin at 7:45 walking out into the crosswalk , without the assistance of a handheld stop sign or a reflective safety vest, to stop traffic and allow kids and their parents to cross all four lanes of Clark Parkway safely.
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“Our administrators here do a great job trying to protect our kids and making sure they are safe,” Marver said. “[But] we need to figure out a way to get someone here on a daily basis that doesn’t involve our administrators where they have to do double duty.”
Crossing guards in Plano are employees of the city who earn a salary with benefits, and must successfully complete a Plano Police Department traffic direction course.
“We decided at a certain point that if we’re going to put people on the road we recognized they need to be properly trained to do this job,” said Officer David Tilley of the Plano Police Department. “Now when someone wants to be a guard they go through a traffic direction course that is run by officers in the traffic direction unit. [The guards] are trained in traffic control.”
According to Tilley, each elementary school in the Plano Independent School District is assigned one crossing guard, and that guard is used at the discretion of the school district.
Officer Tilley said the Plano Police Department will now conduct a study in front of Brinker in the coming days, where officers will measure the average speed of vehicles driving through the area in question, as well as count the number of vehicles that pass by, in addition to the number of pedestrians.
If the numbers justify adding a second guard, the Plano Police will authorize it