BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - By Jessica Bowman – email
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - At this time next year there will no longer be crossing guards at Biloxi schools. Biloxi, like other coastal cities, is having budget issues and part of the plan is to eliminate the jobs of all the crossing guards.
Biloxi students will no longer hear crossing guards whistles blow at this area on Pass Road and St. Mary Blvd. when they return from Christmas break.
Rejeanna Grace said, "I think that's pointless to take the crossing guards away because people on Pass Road are very rude and they don't stop when they see you."
10th grader Rejeanna Grace helps her younger cousins get home from school. She said it's already difficult for young children to try and cross the five lane road.
"They have a hard time with the crossing guards. They don't listen, they just do what they want to do," said Grace.
Joann O'Neill said, "It's definitely a safety issue because we have children that range from five years old to eight or nine."
Crossing guards, like Joann O'Neill, are on the Biloxi Police Department's payroll. In a letter to Biloxi Superintendent Paul Tisdale the police chief said "the department can no longer sustain this expense."
"The first phase of that will occur at the Christmas break," said Dr. Paul Tisdale.
Eight crossing guards will be released during the first phase, but that will still leave about $100,000.00 to be cut from the budget.
"I know that no one wants to raise taxes, no one wants to lay people off. They are having to do what other folks are having to do and that's prioritize where you're having to spend money," said Dr. Tisdale.
Students and crossing guards said they hope the children will not be the ones that suffer.
"A lot of things could happen like car accidents, kids could get hurt. Just a lot of confusion," said Grace.
O'Neill said, "I just hope that the drivers pay attention."
Biloxi Police Chief John Miller said his officers will be in the areas with heavy pedestrian and vehicle traffic. These are a list of areas will crossing guards will be eliminated by January 1, 2011;
- Division and Nichols
- Porter and Youngham
- Iris and Pass
- Iris and Lawrence
- St. Mary and St. Ann
- St. Mary and Pass
- Rodenburg and Vine
- Agincourt and Pass