FEDERALSBURG — After monitoring activity at the crosswalk in front of Federalsburg Elementary School for the first month of the school year, Federalsburg Police Chief Mike McDermott said it will continue without an assigned crossing guard.
McDermott gave an update at the town’s meeting, Monday, Oct. 7.
McDermott said an average of six to nine children use the crosswalk before and after school, and only two of those children do not have an adult with them.
Since the school year began, McDermott said, his officers have been running radar and enforcing stop signs along the streets leading to the school, to make all approaches safer.
Further, McDermott said, drivers are obeying the four-way stop signs at the intersection of Academy and University avenues, where the crosswalk is located. When that crosswalk was first installed, Academy Avenue was a through-street with no stop signs.
“There have been no issues seen,” McDermott said.
Councilmember Ed Windsor asked if McDermott had spoken to anyone connected to the school about possibly establishing a “school safety patrol,” assigning responsible fifth grade students to act as a crossing guard before and after school.
“They used to have that, because I was one,” said Councilmember David Morean.
McDermott said he had not had a chance to bring up the idea.
The lack of a crossing guard became an issue when Caroline County Public Schools released a letter Thursday, Aug. 29, to parents of students at both Federalsburg and Preston elementary schools saying there would not be one at either school when students returned for the first day of school Sept. 3.
The letter said the schools’ assigned school resource officers were to patrol the entrances of the schools during take-in and dismissal, when doors are unlocked and the buildings are at the most vulnerable, and that traffic control was the towns’ responsibility.
In response to the letter, McDermott said he made the decision in May to pull the town officer off crossing guard duty, before a school resource officer had been assigned to Federalsburg Elementary School, which is among four elementary schools in the county to have one for the first time this year.
In Preston, where the crosswalk is located on a state highway, the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office hired a part-time employee to perform crossing guard duties, after the town agreed to pay the salary.