Fairfax County works to expand roles of school crossing guards

WASHINGTON — Fairfax County may be expanding the role of some school crossing guards.

Rush hour congestion not only is an issue on major commuter routes, but also on neighborhood streets that get clogged near schools. This leads to many crossing guards attempting to direct traffic to allow students to cross safely.

Guidelines from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration say crossing guards are only allowed to help children cross streets safely when there is a natural gap in the flow of traffic.

Fairfax County crossing guards received extra instruction this summer to remind them about their specific responsibilities.

In a letter to the community, Fairfax County Police Chief Colonel Edwin C. Roessler, Jr. says work is underway to develop a plan to allow some crossing guards to receive extra training to allow them to direct traffic.

In the meantime, Roessler says additional police officers now are assigned to some schools to direct traffic and address safety and congestion issues.

A post on the police department’s Facebook page says action is being taken because so many crossing guards have been seriously injured over the years.

Also, the police department is working with the school system and Department of Transportation to identify traffic engineering improvements that may help traffic flow near especially busy schools.

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