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Former crossing guards in Menomonee Falls work for free after company shuts down

Posted at 9:00 PM, Mar 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-18 23:17:39-04

MENOMONEE FALLS, Wis. — Eight area school district will return to school Tuesday without crossing guards. Wisconsin Personal Protection Services, which supplies them, shut down unexpectedly. It left people out of a job and cities scrambling for a temporary fix.

Children in Wauwatosoa walking to and from school noticed some familiar faces were missing.

"They usually say hi and I usually thank them," 5th grader Gabriel Conde said.

Conde's mother didn't want him walking home without one, so she sent his grandma, Sylvia Castellano, to meet him at his elementary school.

"Of course, I'm worried that's why I am going to pick up my grandson," Castellano said.

It was the same problem in Menomonee Falls because it had also employed Wisconsin Personal Protection Services. Former crossing guard Juan Ocasio decided to put on his yellow safety vest, get his stop sign and show up to his post despite not being paid today.

"It is because of the little guys. I care for them. I got seven little grandkids and they are just the same," Ocasio said.

He wasn't alone in his volunteering effort. The Menomonee Falls Police Department said more than a half dozen former guards came out Monday morning and afternoon and promised to continue volunteering at least through the week.

"I get little bitty ones crossing by themselves so you gotta take care of them," Ocasio said.

Kids like Conde said he hopes Wauwatosa can bring back his crossing guards soon.

"I'm just sad," Conde said.

Memononee Falls used a mix of police officers and volunteers Monday.

Other cities used school and city workers. Wisconsin Personal Protection Services shut down with almost no notice to cities and has not responded to any calls or interview requests from TODAY'S TMJ4.