Wanted: ‘Personable’ people to help Salt Lake kids safely cross the street to their schools
Salt Lake City is offering $17 an hour plus a $250 signing bonus to assist elementary schoolers as it seeks to hire some 20 new crossing guards
With school starting this week, Salt Lake City seeks to hire some 20 new school crossing guards.
The pay is $17 an hour, a free UTA pass and the city is offering a $250 signing bonus. Last year, school crossing guards in Utah’s capital city helped students cross the street 457,074 times.
Robert Ridge, the city’s crossing guard program and outreach coordinator, said the city is seeking people who are “definitely, personable. You have to be able to pass a background check, a drug screening and a physical capacity test. You’ve got to be willing to wake up early and then go back in the afternoon, ideally.”
The city is seeking candidates “wanting to make a difference in your community,” he said.
Ridge said he occasionally fills in for a crossing guard who calls in sick, is on vacation or can’t fulfill their shift for some other reason.
“I love it when I can go out and help do the crossings. It just always puts a smile on my face when I’m able to get out there and help those kids. They’re all hilarious. It’s fun to see them get excited to go to school and play with all their friends and then go home and tell their parents or whoever how awesome their school day was. I’ve never had a bad day doing a crossing,” Ridge said.
Crossing guards also demonstrate proper procedures to help children learn the skills they need to keep themselves safe as pedestrians.
Flexible shifts are available, with both morning and afternoon crossings available. The city provides all training.
Some school crossing guards he supervises have worked for 20 years helping to ensure the city’s students make it safely to and from school, Ridge said.
He said when he fills in for a long-time crossing guard, some students let him know they’d prefer the man or woman who is normally assisting kids at their school because they are another trusted adult in their sphere.
“This one kid just kept chanting every day that he wanted his old crossing guard back home and I said ‘Hey, I’m a nice guy’ and he’s like ‘Well, I want Barb,’” Ridge said.
Once Barb was able to return to work “the kids were all excited. I know every crossing I go to to cover if a guard is sick or has a vacation planned or whatnot, the kids are not thrilled that there’s a new person but I’ve learned to not take it personally,” he said, laughing.