Raleigh City Council may provide school crossing guards

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- The Raleigh City Council will soon decide whether to put a crossing guard at every elementary and middle school that does not already have one.

Judith Wilburn has lived across from Underwood Elementary most of her life.

She has seen many changes near the bustling Five Points neighborhood, including the number of cars that pass by every day.

"There's more traffic and people are speeding," said Wilburn.

Underwood Elementary does not have an appointed crossing guard. The duty is often left to teachers and staff.

"They just do what they have to do, and so I compliment them on that, but I think it would be better if we actually had them trained a little bit," said Raleigh City Council member John Odom.

Odom and other Council members believe all schools that want a crossing guard should have one.

"We've got a lot of traffic in the city of Raleigh. We've got a lot more students in the city of Raleigh," Odom said.

"We do not need to wait until something happens," said Raleigh City Council member Eugene Weeks.

Council members are considering a move to pay for a guard and crosswalks at each of the 56 Wake County elementary and middle schools in Raleigh.

Each school could choose whether or not it wants the crossing guards. So far 21 schools have put in requests. 18 have turned down the offer.

Additional crossing guards would cost the city an extra $141,000 annually. Up-fitting crosswalks would add a one-time cost of $88,000 to the budget.

The city is still trying to figure out how to pay for it.

"When you're talking about the safety and lives of our students, you cannot put a price on that," said Weeks.

The proposal goes to the City Council on Tuesday.

If it passes, it would go into effect next school year.

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