Schoolmageddon ’13: Where Have All the Crossing Guards Gone?

With Philly’s students back in school as of yesterday, we all expected staff, material and program shortages thanks to the massive budget deficit the Philadelphia School District has been battling since last summer. But today, it looks like the route to school isn’t ready either thanks to one missing factor: crossing guards.

As part of the “Walk Safe PHL” program announced last year, yellow-vested groups of volunteers were slated to help out in crosswalks as part of stemming fears regarding the new routes some 9,000 displaced students would have to walk to their new schools. Apparently, they never showed.

Odd, considering that Mayor Nutter’s announcement last month that Town Watch Integrated Services recruited some 260 volunteers to man “safe corridors” to the new schools. But, says Lena Davis, a volunteer crossing guard of 13 years, that is not the case:

“I don’t know anything about that. It’s the first I heard about volunteers”

Ditto for reporter Isaiah Thompson, who found no evidence of crossing guards at a number of safety corridors he walked yesterday. However, Town Watch executive director Anthony Murphy says he’s working to confirm that the routes in question were manned.

Meanwhile, Mark McDonald, a spokesman for Mayor Nutter, said that the volunteers just may not have donned their vests:

“As you can imagine, this is a large volunteer program that just experienced Day One. It’s an organic thing that will grow and change and we very much encourage parents to work with organizers.”

Yup, sort of like a school with proper funding. []