This story originally appeared in the Vaughan Citizen.
This gives a whole new meaning to the term sleeping behind the wheel.
Pauline Barnes is a woman of her word. Two weeks ago, The Citizen published a photograph she took of a crossing guard sitting in his car while on duty. She said she would keep doing so until the city re-assigns idle lunch-hour guards. Very few children go home for lunch, Ms Barnes said.
But just recently, the observant Maple resident took a picture of another crossing guard catching a lunch-hour snooze.
“I’ll keep doing this every week until they do something because I’m sure every corner has (a crossing guard) not doing anything,” she said. “They’re not needed (at lunchtime).”
Ms Barnes initially expressed concern about her daughter not receiving supervision when she crosses the street at 3 p.m. because the local guard only arrives at 3:35 p.m. to accommodate kids from local Holy Jubilee (Ms Barnes’ daughter attends Julliard Public School).
Ms Barnes noted that hardly any children cross the street from 12 to 1 p.m., and asked the city to have the afternoon guard come an hour earlier. She was told the city requires a minimum of 50 children to install a guard for the morning and afternoon, but the lunch period is exempt from this rule.
In response, Ms Barnes began snapping photos of idle lunch-hour crossing guards who have nothing to do. She said she doesn’t do it to get anybody in trouble, but to show how resources are being squandered.
“I do want to make the point so that these resources are allocated to some better use than having people sit there,” she said.
A 2009 crossing guard review by the city found that there are 16 locations that do not meet the minimum 50-child requirement, but still have crossing guards.
Ms Barnes said she wants either the policy changed to lower the 50-child requirement, or the lunch period also has to adhere to that requirement.
“I feel I have the right to make this request, and it’s being declined on the basis of a policy,” she said. “I don’t know why they’re waiting and prolonging a solution that is so evident.”
The city conducted a study to monitor the number of children crossing Drummond Dr. and St. Joan of Arc Ave.
They found no children crossing at lunch, and five in the afternoon. However, the city stated these results could be skewed since it is winter and not as many children would be out for lunch.
Ms Barnes noted that five is still more than none and said this was evidence that the crossing guard should be moved from lunch time to the afternoon.
The city said Ms Barnes’ request will be reviewed by a committee this spring.