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January 22. 2013 10:10PM

Traffic circles tough on Derry school crossing guards

DERRY - It has been another fairly mild winter so far, but the dark skies and winter weather still present some problems for the school district's crossing guards.

"We have had a couple of complaints from my poor traffic circle crossing guards," said school business director Jane Simard, who also oversees the crossing guard program. "It's a little dangerous out there, so if people could be a little cognizant that they are walking out into traffic and try not to be so impatient. I did buy them new neon winter gloves so you will see them, and it will be pretty obvious."

Simard said the crossing guards stationed at the town's traffic circles are most nervous about oncoming traffic.

"In the morning sometimes, it's not their fault, but it is kind of dark and if there is any kind of weather, people have to be careful," said school board chairman Brenda Willis. "They are trying to make sure our kids are safe."

All school crossing guards do receive safety training in August before the school year begins, Simard said.

"But they do feel that at that location, in particular, people are more impatient and not as understanding," she said. "They do have to stop the traffic for the students."
The crossing guards are aware of traffic and try not to stop cars if there is only one student waiting to cross the street, according to Simard.

"If they see a group coming down, they try to be really cognizant that traffic needs to be flowing and they do cross groups whenever possible," she said.

While urging motorist caution when it comes to crossing guards during the winter, Simard also said that the schools have been on top of keeping the school grounds safe and open after bad weather.

"In general, the snow removal is done by our maintenance staff and custodians," she said. "When we do have events on the weekends, such as Derry Recreational Department basketball games, our parking lots are all up and ready and our walkways are shoveled in time for any rental."
aswift@unionleader.com


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