Students’ safety came into question at schools across the area Monday, after a local business which provides crossing guards to a number of districts suddenly shut down.
Wisconsin Personal Protection Services in West Allis provides crossing guards for at least eight school districts in the Greater Milwaukee Area — West Allis-West Milwaukee, Wauwatosa, Waukesha, Cudahy, South Milwaukee, Shorewood, Menomonee Falls and Greendale.
They got the news less than 24 hours before the start of the school day, leaving them in the dark with no notice.
It comes as the weather is getting warmer outside and more kids will be walking to and from school, something that concerns Katie Forrester, a parent in the West Allis-West Milwaukee District.
“These cars do not slow down very well so it’s a big deal. The safety of our children,” Forrester said.
She would like to see crossing guards controlling traffic because kids can be unpredictable.
“They jump right out too. You know sometimes they just don’t know and they go for it,” Forrester said.
Paul Hawver, a parent in the West Allis-West Milwaukee District, also worries about drivers.
“It’s like wow. People just need to slow down a little bit and take a little more time you know there’s no need to rush,” Hawver said.
However, now that Wisconsin Personal Protection Services went out of business, crossing guards are few and far between.
Districts were forced to fill crosswalks with village workers and school staff at the last minute, including Shorewood which has 11 spots.
Deputy Police Chief Kevin Carini said it's the first time in 15 years the village has had problems with the company.
“It’s the only local one here that we have that offers the services and they’ve been responsive to our needs all the years that I’ve been dealing with them,” Carini said.
Now they and other municipalities are looking for long-term solutions, which Forrester would like to see sooner than later.
“I hope so. You know tomorrow. It would be nice,” Forrester said. “I’m ready to go stand out there myself, if I have to.”
Throughout the region local officials are trying to figure out plans for the future.
Shorewood will be addressing the situation Monday night at the Village Board meeting.
Wauwatosa said it is looking for temporary crossing guards for the rest of the school year. If you're interested, please contact the City of Wauwatosa at 414-479-8954.